Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

Dave Clark 5

Biography | Discography | Web Links | Books

 

Dave Clark - drums, vocals, Mike Smith - keyboards, vocals, Lenny Davidson - guitar, Dennis Payton - saxophone, vocals, Rick Huxley - bass

The Dave Clark 5 was often seen as the major threat to The Beatles, especially in the US where they were the first English band to tour and heralded the British Invasion. They had fifteen consecutive top 20 hits in the US which was more than anyone except the Beatles. Dave Clark was unusual in that, as well as being the drummer, he wrote and produced most of the group's hits and was the group's manager. Moreover he published the music and licensed the recordings to ensure maximum revenue. This was at a time when most artists were still on contracts that favoured the record company or music publisher. Clark was already proving to be an astute businessman.

Smith had been playing in skiffle bands around the Enfield area with Davidson when Dave Clark spotted them and recruited them to the Dave Clark 5. The group was relying in instrumentals and cover versions before Clark started to appreciate the true talent in the group. The Dave Clark 5 did build a strong live reputation around North London and American air bases. The group recorded for Piccadilly and Ember without success signing to EMI. The first single was the Contours' Do You Love Me although they lost out in the charts to another cover of the song by Brian Poole & the Tremeloes. They decided to find something original for their second release and Glad All Over knocked the Beatles off the number one slot. This had been written by Clark although the titles was taken from a Carl Perkins song. The single defined the Dave Clark 5 drum sound. The follow-up, Smith's Bits and Pieces carried on in the same vein. The record was banned by Mecca clubs as kids were jumping up and down and ruining the dance floors. Four of the five band members wrote songs and this helped to contribute towards the unique sound.

The first album Session with the Dave Clark 5 was issued in 1964 and contained a mix of tracks including some jazz and folk influences, show songs and some foot stompers.

The Dave Clark 5 appeared in the John Boorman film Catch Us if You Can in 1965 and this spawned a hit single with the title track.

Although the band was becoming more creative, the hits began slowing down in 1966 and became far more difficult. The band finally split up in 1970.

Mike Smith later worked with Manfred Mann's Mike D'Abo, releasing Smith and D'Abo in 1976. Dave Clark was a successful businessman, owning all the rights to the 1960s music television series Ready Steady Go.

Dennis Payton died in 2006. Mike Smith died in February 2008 from pneumonia. Rick Huxley died in mid-February 2013.

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