African American Bandstand Research Paper

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The Importance of “American Bandstand” on African American Culture
“We 're goin ' hoppin ', we 're goin ' hoppin ' today, where things are poppin ' the Philadelphia way, we 're gonna drop in on all the music they play, on the bandstand!” These are the lyrics to “Bandstand Boogie,” written by Barry Manilow for ABC’s long running dance show American Bandstand. Barry Manilow’s version of “Bandstand Boogie” was American Bandstand’s opening and closing theme song from 1977 until its last show on ABC in 1987. (Manilow, Album.)
I believe that “American Bandstand” is important to African American music culture because it helped to break down the prejudices that Whites felt toward African Americans. Rhythm and blues music written and performed by
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“American Bandstand” was the place to reach a young audience and Dick Clark was also the first non-music performer to influence African American music by featuring its artists on television. In the book Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, Clark mentions that his show was the first to showcase African American music stars performing their songs, and it showed African American and White teens dancing together and sitting together during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 1960s. (Clark, pp. 106-107) “American Bandstand” was on local television in Philadelphia beginning in 1952, then on national television from 1957 until 1987. It was shown on cable television from late 1987 until its last show in 1989. Clark joined "Bandstand" in 1956 after its original host was fired. Under Clark 's guidance, it went from a local Philadelphia show to a national phenomenon.
Before appearing on television, Clark hosted radio shows in central New York and Philadelphia. In 1956, Elvis Presley scored his first hit record with “Heartbreak Hotel”, which changed the face of music. His interpretations of songs and provocative performances, mixed with musical influences across color lines that happened during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, made him popular and controversial. In an excerpt from The History of American Bandstand, Clark stated that he used the show to introduce viewers to singers less offensive than “Elvis the Pelvis.” (Shore,
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