Before the Beatles landed, D.C Five was rocking the USA

Many folks, me included, thought the Beatles were the first English band to tour the United States, therefore starting the British Invasion.

First off, no one knew that it was an invasion at the time, and not too many thought it would last.

They were wrong. From 1964 to 1966, English music pretty much dominated the American music scene and pop/rock charts.

Big name bands, such as the Who, Kinks, Rolling Stones, Procol Harum and the Yardbirds, and individual artists, such as Donovan, Cat Stevens, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones, were just getting started.

So were lesser-known bands such as Freddie and the Dreamers, the Bachelors, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, the Seekers, the Fortunes and many more.

But actually, the invasion started in 1963 when the Dave Clark Five became the first English band to tour the United States and started an invasion of music from Great Britain that is still going on, although not quite as feverishly as in the 1960s.

The Dave Clark Five played six sellout tours of the United States and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show a record 18 times, which was more than any other British act.

The band played to a dozen full houses at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall in only three days, which is still a record.

With hits such as “Do You Love Me?,” “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces,” “Can’t You See She’s Mine,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Catch Us If You Can” and the beautiful “Because,” the Dave Clark Five were the Beatles’ biggest competition for a few years in the 1960s.

In fact, “Glad All Over” knocked “I Want to Hold Your Hand” off the top of the British charts in 1964.

The Dave Clark Five had 15 consecutive top 20 hits on the United States charts in 1964 and ‘65, second only to those Beatles.

With a total output of 23 albums and 30 worldwide hits, plus total record sales in excess of 100 million records, this is a band that shouldn’t be overlooked. And its influence is deep. Some of the bands influenced by the Dave Clark Five include Kiss, Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

It was the band’s larger-than-life production along with Clark’s dominating drumming and Mike Smith’s unforgettable vocals that really caught first Spector’s and Springsteen’s ears. It was the wall of sound in its incarnation, so to speak.

In 1970, after an amazing seven year run, the Dave Clark Five disbanded while still at the top of its game.

Dave Clark was an influence in other ways. He was the manager of the Dave Clark Five. He also co-wrote most of the band’s songs and owned the rights to all its music, only leasing them out to major record labels for a specific time.

That was basically unheard of in those days and is something many artists envied. It is also the reason that you hardly see any Dave Clark Five songs on compilation CDs.

The Beatles took that same route with its songs, but only after joining Capitol/EMI Records.

In fact, right now out of all of the recordings made by the Dave Clark Five, the only music of you can purchase is a 28-song import best-of CD titled “The Hits.”

It’s a bit pricey, but to me it was well worth it.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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