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A bridesmaid no more: British Invasion heroes The Dave Clark Five make the Rock Hall

While there are certainly many bands that have patiently waited to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, perhaps none are as overdue as perennial bridesmaids The Dave Clark Five.

While there are certainly many bands that have patiently waited to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, perhaps none are as overdue as perennial bridesmaids The Dave Clark Five.

Eligible since 1987, the “second” band of the British Invasion was consistently ignored for almost two decades before finally being nominated for induction in 2006. The band didn’t get in that year but was nominated again in 2007 when, despite having six more votes than Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, the group was controversially snubbed by Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, who used a voting technicality to induct the Hall’s first rap group instead.

Nominated again this year, The Dave Clark Five will finally take its rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame beside fellow 2008 inductees Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen and The Ventures. The induction ceremony is scheduled to be held Monday, March 12, at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Tottenham, England native Dave Clark formed the first lineup of his Dave Clark Five in 1958 as a means to help offset the traveling costs of his football team. Clark was a complete novice on the drums, but that didn’t stop him and soon-to-be-bassist Chris Walls from placing an ad in British music weekly Melody Maker looking for other musicians. With the additions of guitarists Rick Huxley and Mike Ryan and singer/saxophonist Stan Saxon, The Dave Clark Five was born.

Originally billed as The Dave Clark Five featuring Stan Saxon, the quintet cut its teeth over the next couple of years on the North London circuit and forged a considerable reputation as a loud, raucous live band. However, by 1961, Walls, Ryan and Saxon had all departed, leading Huxley to switch to the bass guitar. Clark then recruited ex-Impalas guitarist Lenny Davidson, who brought along new lead singer and keyboardist Mike Smith, a classically trained musician whose expressive vocals would become a major factor in the band’s subsequent success.

E Street guitarist and longtime DC5 fan Little Steven Van Zandt recently said on his Sirius satellite radio show “Underground Garage” that Smith “was one of the greatest singers ever. How many white soul singers are better than him?” Denis Payton rounded out the new-look Dave Clark Five on saxophone, harmonica and guitar, and all the pieces were in place.

By 1961 the band, under Clark’s able management, had signed an important contract that gave them a regular performing slot on tours of the popular chain of Mecca ballrooms all over Southern England. These shows tightened the group’s sound and led to their first recordings. Released on the Ember and Piccadilly labels in 1962, these early singles did nothing, but the group caught the ear of an EMI A&R man at their residency at the Tottenham Royal, and the group was signed to its Columbia label in 1963.

The band’s version of The Contours’ “Do You Love Me”, its second single for EMI/Columbia, crept into the U.K. Top 30 in October of 1963, although it paled in comparison to The Tremeloes’ version of the same song, which reached #1 during the same period. In the meantime, the DC5 won the 1963 Mecca Gold Cup as the best band on the English ballroom circuit.

With Beatlemania in full swing, Clark and Smith penned the catchy “Glad All Over,” and EMI readied it as the band’s third single for the label. “Glad All Over” reached #1 on the U.K. charts on Jan. 14, 1964, knocking The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” out of the to