David 'Dave' Clark (born 15 December 1942) is an English musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the leader and drummer of the 1960s beat group The Dave Clark Five, the first British Invasion band to follow The Beatles to America in 1964. Clark and Lenny Davidson are the last surviving members of The Dave Clark Five. In 2008 Clark and his band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Born in Tottenham, North London, Clark left school without qualifications at the age of 15 and became a film stuntman, performing in over 40 films. In the late 1950s Clark bought himself a set of drums, taught himself how to play them, and formed a skiffle band to raise funds so that his football team could travel to the Netherlands.
The skiffle band grew into the Dave Clark Five with Clark their leader, co-songwriter, manager and producer.
The Dave Clark Five grew in popularity in the UK. They unseated the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" from its number one spot in the British singles charts in January 1964 with "Glad All Over". The British press, briefly, called them the Beatles' "most serious threat". The Dave Clark Five were the first British Invasion band to follow the Beatles to America in 1964, where they achieved 15 consecutive Top 20 hits. They also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more times than any other English group. Dave Clark became a popular name for babies in the 1960s.
In 2008, Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones, had this to say about Dave Clark:
He truly is a survivor and remains the innovative spirit whom the Beatles saw, during that first 18 months of the British invasion, every time they looked over their shoulders. it was not the Stones, yet, or the Kinks or Who. it was the Dave Clark Five.
In the late 1960s, in addition to managing his band, Clark began directing and producing for television. In 1968 he made a "very successful" television production, Hold On, It's the Dave Clark Five. The band broke up in 1970, and in 1972 Clark stopped drumming after he broke four knuckles in a tobogganing accident. In 1986 Clark wrote a science fiction stage musical, Time that played for two years in London's West End, starring Cliff Richard (replaced later by David Cassidy) and featuring Laurence Olivier's huge holographic image. Clark became a successful entrepreneur and a multi-millionaire, owning a £12 million house in West London. He owned the rights to all the Dave Clark Five music and in 1993 he released remastered versions of all their singles on a CD, Glad All Over Again.
He also owns the rights to all the episodes of the 1960s UK music show Ready Steady Go! that still exist. In the late 1980s they were repeated on Channel 4 interspersed with the Dave Clark Five's own performances.
Clark has never married but he was once romantically linked with television presenter Cathy McGowan. He was a close friend of Queen singer Freddie Mercury whom he had known since 1975. Clark had taken over the bedside vigil of Mercury when he died in November 1991 and informed Mercury's parents of his death.
In 2008, marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the band, the Dave Clark Five was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Clark, making a rare public appearance, and the two other surviving band members accepted the award on behalf of the group.
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