Mike Smith, the lead singer of the Dave Clark Five (it wasn’t Dave Clark), died yesterday as a result of an unfortunate accident that left him paraplegic several years ago. For a time in the mid 1960’s, the DC 5 was second only to the Beatles in popularity of British Invasion groups in America. In fact, Tom Hanks once told a story on the Tonight Show how when he was growing up, he thought the Dave Clark Five and their Tottenham sound would become more popular than the Beatles and the Mersey Beat (there were five of them and they had horns so they must be better was his youthful rationale). Lots of young women felt the same way.
It soon became obvious the DC 5 were a good group making enjoyable music but didn’t have songwriting talent or musical ability anywhere near that of the Beatles. They were looked on with derision by most other British musicians and when they no longer had material written for them, they hung it up. Most of the group went on to successful lives and careers and Mike Smith, by most accounts was a good guy.
Their music holds up today as quite listenable, more so than some of the groups that became more popular. Smith’s vocals are especially good on these records. They were scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in two weeks and plans were being made to fly Mike Smith in so he could be there in his wheelchair to accept his award. He won’t make it. Life and death can be cruel. They deserve that Hall of Fame induction.
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