Throwback Thursday: Dick Clark, Daft Punk and Everything In Between

Happy New Year Our Space Readers!

I can hardly believe that it is 2014. Dang – the years keep ticking by! I can remember celebrating New Years Eve with Chicago’s music countdown on WLS all the way back to 1977 when Kansas’ “Dust in The Wind” was in the lineup. I think that may have been the year that I really began to understand the power of lyrics – that I actually heard the message of a song. It was a hard reality to be hit with in 3rd grade: all of this–our dreams and hopes–is simply “Dust in the Wind.” This explains my sometimes pessimistic and realist views.

Anyway, this year I watched the ball drop with my kids on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. I found myself explaining to them who Dick Clark was, his incredible influence on pop music and the roots of his career with American Bandstand.

I am not going to talk about the fact that now the show is hosted by Ryan Seacrest (it could be much worse) or how Miley was the final act of the night– though thankfully she kept herself covered with a long (I think / hope it was fake) white fur that draped behind her. I was just glad she was keeping her behind to herself. My kids are nine and ten. Twerking is not a part of their vocabulary, and I really do not want to have to explain it.

Funny enough as I began to talk with my kids about this incredibly influential man, how Clark’s show featured the hottest music of the day while cameras filmed people dancing, I realized how little things have changed. Music is still and will always be this incredible unifier for people. Individuals come together and move autonomously yet unified to a beat. We rally around a particular band and attend concerts in the same way sports fans do a game. We hear philosophies and emotions that we may think are unique to our life experience and discover we are not alone. Music has bridged generations, and cultures and races.

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was radical in the mid ’50s as they filmed sharp dressed white kids dancing with sharp dressed black kids… It hadn’t been done before… Schools were still segregated, yet music and Dick Clark brought them together. That’s pretty cool. Eventually, American Bandstand gave way to Soul Train, a show created and hosted by Chicago DJ, Don Cornelius.  Soul train showcased not simply pop music but R&B, soul, hip hop,  funk, jazz, disco and gospel. Which brings me to the point of this New Year’s Throwback Thursday. As you know, the Grammys are around the corner, and I need to give a hat tip to a nominee for album of the year. But first – watch this video to understand the connection.

 

 

Daft Punk is not new to the scene by any means, but they are new to me, and I have to admit that their newest release, “Random Access Memories” has given me an “Instant Crush” on this cool collaborative duo. I was resistant to this whole EDM thing, (I am constantly fighting being old) but realizing that so much of it is rooted in some of my musical history (disco), I think I understand its draw.  After hearing “Get Lucky” in the car the other day, I was shocked at how 1977, in the hippest of ways, the song sounded. Don’t believe me?  Compare the intros to these two songs side-by-side and tell me what you think:

 

 

 

Am I right???

The point is that though this all may be, as Kansas sang, just dust in the wind, sometimes the wind does bring the best parts around again. Music, fashion and sometimes our hopes and dreams come blowing by again, offering us or our kids a fresh chance to reach out to taste and experience it.

So cheers to throwbacks and fast forwards. Cheers to new opportunities, of fresh wind blowing into lost dreams, of new life being given to old tunes in your album collection or, as you would say today, on your playlist. And cheers to music–for always being a bridge in this world that never needs to be burned.

Cover Photo Source: a katz / Shutterstock.com

 Jennifer is Director of Content & Ideation at SJG. I am convinced that every human being is innately creative – Picasso said the key is to remain childlike within the body of a responsible adult, or something along those lines. As the oldest member of this opinionated clan, I feel responsible to share a different perspective. Engage me – I love a good debate!