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Music Industry Icon Dick Clarks Dies at Age 82

Clark, Alicia Keys, and Usher at rehearsals for the 2004 American Music Awards. Clark would suffer a severe stroke less than a month later (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

The face of American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Dick Clark, died today at the age of 82 after suffering what his agent described as “a massive heart attack”.

Before there was Howard Stern or Ryan Seacrest, there was Dick Clark. He began his radio career in the mailroom of a radio station run by his dad and uncle, filling in for various on air personalities from time to time. From there he continued to persue his passion at the student-run radio station at Syracuse University while persuing a degree in business.

It was while working for Philadelphia radio station, WFIL, that Clark began hosting Bandstand, an afternoon dance show for teenagers. Five years later, ABC took over the show, named it American Bandstand, and the rest is history.

The show became a major factor in what songs became hits and what songs didn’t. In between songs, Clark would talk with teenagers in the studio about the songs and helped rate the records. Songs that generated high ratings on the show become nationwide hits.

After moving to Hollywood in 1963, he started Dick Clark productions which has cranked out an more than 30 series and 250 specials, as well as more than 20 movies for theatre and TV.

He debuted Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 1972. A show that has become a staple during New Year’s celebrations everywhere. Whether you stay home, head to a friend or family members house for a get together, or visit a local bar to celebrate, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is on a TV somewhere. I remember being at home with the sitter while my parents went out with friends and staying up late to watch the infamous ball drop.

Despite his involvement in TV, which included hosting The $25,000 Pyramid and TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, Clark’s impact on the music and radio world will be felt for years to come.

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