In 1964, there was no bigger television venue for rock bands than "The Ed Sullivan Show." Dave Clark was completely unaware of that.
The founder and leader of the Dave Clark Five was living in London and still not committed to making a profession of music.
“The Dave Clark Five — Glad All Over, a Great Performances Special” premieres Tuesday at 7 p.m. on PBS/Ch. 7.
"I always said to the boys, ‘We’ll only go professional if we get two top-five records. If not, we just carry on and play for the fun of it,’ " Clark said. "Well, fortunately ‘Glad All Over’ took off."
It sold more than 1.5 million copies and knocked the Beatles’ "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the charts.
"It was a really good record," Paul McCartney says in PBS’ "Great Performances" documentary "The Dave Clark Five — Glad All Over." "It was an obvious hit. The band looked great. So you had to hand it to them — reluctantly."
But, still, Clark and his pals were not planning to become part of the British invasion of America.
"Then I got a call from Ed Sullivan while all the boys are still working in factories and offices," he said. "And I’d never heard of Ed Sullivan … so I turned it down."
He got a follow-up call "and they offered us quite a lot of money. But the thing that really inspired us — we were going to go professional for the first time. We had a sold-out tour of England a week later. But I said to the guys, ‘Now, what have we got to lose? They’re going to fly us over, all expenses paid.’ "
The DC5 flew to New York, did the show and it went over so well that Sullivan announced on the air that he was holding them over for the following week, with top billing. Only problem was those sold-out shows back in England.
"He said, ‘Dave, I thought you’d be thrilled. There’s 70 million people watching the show,’ " Clark said. "And I said, ‘I am thrilled, but if you would have asked me first, I wouldn’t have put you in the embarrassing position.’ "
At which point Sullivan offered to buy out the shows in England. And he paid for the band members to spend a week in Jamaica.
When they returned to JFK International, there were 30,000 fans waiting for them.
The Dave Clark Five appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" a total of 18 times — more than any act other than the mouse puppet Topo Gigio — and launched a career that rivaled those of a couple of other more recognizable bands.
"The three giants that came out of Britain in the ’60s were the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five and the Rolling Stones," says Elton John in the documentary.
If you were a fan back in the 1960s and early 1970s, the documentary will bring back great memories. The two-hour program is framed by Tom Hanks’ incredibly enthusiastic speech inducting the Dave Clark Five into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and that enthusiasm is contagious.
If you’re too young to remember the DC5, it might make you into a fan.
Hanks recalls how the arrival of the Dave Clark Five in America in early 1964 helped lift the pall of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was upbeat music by young, attractive men.
And the tale told in "Glad All Over" — produced and directed by Clark himself — is not about infighting and anger and tragedy. These were five guys who remained friends and stopped performing only because they weren’t having fun anymore.
"We were always great mates," Clark said. "And believe it or not … we never had one legal letter between us. I’m talking about any disputes. And we were friends right up until the end."
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