Monday Night Music Byte
The Dave Clark Five (also known as “The DC5”) were an English pop rock group. It was the second group of the British Invasion, after The Beatles, to have a chart hit in the United States (“Glad All Over” #6, February 1964).
The Dave Clark Five had several more hit songs in the United States during 1964-67, including “Bits and Pieces” (#4, April 1964), “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” (#4, June 1964), “Because” (#3, August 1964), “Anyway You Want It” (#14, November 1964), “I Like It Like That” (#7, June 1965), “Catch Us If You Can” (#4, August 1965), “Over And Over” (#1, December 25, 1965), and “You Got What It Takes” (#7, April 1967). The group disbanded in late 1970.
Dave Clark was the band’s drummer, an unusual instrument to be played by the namesake of a rock group. Clark, who played drums at the front of the stage, relegating the guitarists and keyboard to his rear and sides, formed the band around 1959. He owned the copyright in the recordings for this period.
Lead vocals were provided by Mike Smith, who also played the keyboards. The rest of the band was Lenny Davidson on lead guitar, Rick Huxley on bass guitar, and Denny Payton on saxophone, harmonica and guitar.
Originating in North London, the band was promoted as the vanguard of the ‘Tottenham Sound’, a response to the Mersey Beat stable managed by Brian Epstein. From the outset, the band’s sound was complemented by the inclusion of a saxophone. They had a series of memorable hits, including “Glad All Over” that in January 1964 knocked the Beatles from the number one position on the UK Singles Chart.
After the success of the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, the DC5 released their own film, Catch Us If You Can (directed by John Boorman) in 1965. It also starred Barbara Ferris, and was released in the United States as Having a Wild Weekend. The promotional film for the song “Nineteen Days” is a precursor of the music video. The short film Hits in Action highlighted a series of Dave Clark Five hits.
The Dave Clark Five had 17 records in Billboard’s Top 40, with 12 Top 40 United Kingdom hits between 1964 and 1967. Their song “Over And Over” went to number one in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of December 1965, despite less than impressive sales in the UK, and they played to sell-out crowds on their tours of the U.S. Heavily promoted as having a “cleaner” image than the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five made 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than any other UK group.
In spite of their huge success for a period, bolstered by the movie and a television special, the major hits dried up after 1967’s “You Got What It Takes”. The DC5’s efforts to embrace the prevailing trend of psychedelia were not successful. They disbanded in 1970, having placed a further three singles on the UK chart that year.
On 10 March 2008 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Please enjoy this video clip of the Dave Clark Five performing their 1965 hit “Catch Us If You Can” on British television’s Shindig series.