On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, Dick Clark passed away at the age of 82 after suffering a heart attack. Over the course of his storied career, the legendary radio/TV personality entertained millions as he rang in countless New Years Rockin’ Eve specials in New York City’s Times Square and a perpetual game show host. Most notably, Clark was the host of the classic American Bandstand, which broadcast new and popular musicians into the homes of countless viewers. Among the many greats that were featured on the show; Clark also helped break racial barriers by giving many African American artists their first TV appearances.
In the wake of Clark’s passing, BlackEnterprise.com highlights some of the musical legends of color that have the American Bandstand host to thank for one of their big breaks. As a bonus, click the celebrities’ name to see video of their American Bandstand appearances.—Anslem Samuel
In a time before YouTube, American Bandstand provided the original platform for viral dance crazes. That was made abundantly clear when a new artists by the name of Chubby Checker hit the stage and showed the world how to do The Twist.
Following in her brother’s footsteps, Janet Jackson hit the American Bandstand stage in the mid-80s, performing “Young Love.” The vibrant performer went on to become a musical icon in her own right, maintaining the musical legacy of her famous family tree.