Yesterday afternoon, "America’s oldest teenager," as he was nicknamed, passed away at the age of 82 from a heart attack. A pop culture and music industry king, Clark began hosting the long-running after-school TV series American Bandstand in 1957, when he was 27 years old. The famously wholesome show helped catapult rock n’ roll into the mainstream, giving both well-known bands and adolescent dancers a chance to perform on national television. Throughout the late ’50s and ’60s, tens of millions would tune in every weekday afternoon to learn new dance steps, sing along to Top 40 hits and see Clark interview the most notable musicians of the day.
Although Clark eventually branched out to pursue other projects, like the game show Pyramid and his annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special, it was Bandstand that would remain his most famous hosting job. The show ran until 1989, and its format helped pave the way for other music-related series like Soul Train and American Idol. (Ed note: Um, please do not forget The Grind.) And since music and fashion have long been closely linked, there were some major style moments born during Bandstand‘s heydey.
Check out some of our favorite outfits (and some familiar faces) from American Bandstand‘s 31-year run in the slideshow, plus inspired pieces you can buy right now. Dick Clark, you and your enduring love of rock music will be missed.
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