Dave Clark and his Dave Clark Five have received plenty of kudos during the past 50 years, including eight Top 10 hits in the U.S. between 1964-67 and millions of record sales around the world.
But Clark says "the best compliment I ever had" came from Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr.
"Berry Gordy actually said he copies some of my licks," recalls Clark, now 71, a drummer who led the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame quintet band from its 1958 formation until its breakup in 1970. He also produced the new documentary "The Dave Clark Five and Beyond -- Glad All Over," which debuts this week on PBS' Great Performances series.
Specifically, Gordy picked up the tribal thump of the DC5's "Glad All Over," which began showing up on Motown singles -- most notably by the Supremes. 'Glad All Over' peaked in February or March, whatever it was, of '64," Clark notes. "The Supremes did not have any hits then. I think it was June or July of that year they came up with ('Where Did Our Love Go'); a lot of that was very much what we had done -- not the overall sound, but the rhythm sound. Then on to 'Baby Love' and all that.
"I thought, 'Wow, that's the best compliment you can have. I was very flattered."
Gordy's appropriation of the DC5 sound was something of a quid pro quo, as the British group's first hit in its homeland was a 1963 cover of the Contours' Motown smash "Do You Love Me," which later hit No. 11 on the Billboard 100 in the U.S.
"We used to play the American (military) bases in England," Clark explains. "We'd have to play for three and a half hours, and when you had a break they'd put on the jukebox and these amazing records would come on that we never heard in England, and they used to say, 'When you come back next week, can you play these?' And I'd say, 'Well, if you can give me a copy of the singles, we'll learn them,' which we did.
"But I always believed you shouldn't jsut copy somebody else's songs note for note they way they did it. You should try to do your own version. That's what we tried to do with 'Do You Love Me,' which is different than the Contours'. The Contours version was wonderful, but ours was our own, which is why we had a hit with it, too."
The "Glad All Over" documentary recounts the DC5's history as well as Clark's work in TV and film afterwards, with plenty of historical footage and commentary from Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss' Gene Simmons, Twiggy and fans who saw the DC5 during the early 60s in England, plus liberal samplings of Tom Hanks' 2008 Rock Hall induction speech. And while this marks the 50th anniversary of the DC5's arrival in the U.S. -- including three consecutive appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" right after the Beatles' debut -- Clark says he isn't trying to keep pace with his more high-profile countrymen.
"I never wanted to do a documentary or write a book," says Clark, who is, in fact, finishing a memoir for publication this year. "I've loved every moment and I wouldn't have missed it for the world,but I felt we didn't have to prove anything to anybody. We know what we did, and it was wonderful.
"But the danger is that when you stop in '70, people tend to forget, and I understand that. The thing that made me do it is three of the guys (Denis Payton, Mike Smith and Rick Huxley) have died, and I had people like Tom Hanks and Bruce and Steve Van Zandt saying, 'Oh, you've got to do a book. You've got to do a documentary. You've got to tell the stories. So that's what I've done, and I'm glad I did now."
"Great Performances: The Dave Clark Five and Beyond -- Glad All Over" premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, and 10 p.m. Friday, April 11 on PBS, including WTVS, Channel 56 in metro Detroit.
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