Here’s a really cool clip from “American Bandstand” which aired from 1952 to 1989. Dick Clark started hosting the show in 1956 and he remined the host until it went off the air. The song is Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band’s version of the 1956 Bo Diddley song “Diddy Wah Diddy.” (Say that 10 times fast.) This was the very first single released by The Magic Band. The internet says it’s much more R&B influenced than Captain Beefheart’s later, more experimental work. I have no idea if that’s true or not since, aside from the RIP post I wrote after his passing last December, I’m almost completely unfamiliar with his work. I do love the blues though and this is a terrific cover!
The first thing I thought of when I saw the integrated dancers in this clip was the movie “Hairspray.” I only saw the original musical and not “Hairspray: The Musical” which was a musical remake of the musical… (Seriously, who thinks of these things?) I wondered if American Bandstand was the inspiration for the integration protests in the movie so I looked it up. The answer was no, it was “The Buddy Deane Show” out of Baltimore, MD. Bandstand’s dance floor became “multi-cultural” (or at least two toned) in 1965, just a year before the episode in this clip aired. It happened without incident or comment. One day it was monotone and then Dick Clark said “Let there be Negroes” and POOF! Seriously though, the integration of Bandstand is an actual historical thing. There are school lesson plans about it and everything. In his own way, Dick Clark is a bit of a civil rights hero.
Power to the people Dick!*
*PS. Please don’t let this image turn into a giant ass. With that caption it would just be too hilariously wrong!