The Dave Clark Five

The Dave Clark Five (abbreviated as DC5) were an English rock and roll group in the 1960s, and one of the few that were able to present something of a commercial threat to The Beatles, the dominant group of the period. They were, in fact, the second group of the "British Invasion" after The Beatles to have a chart hit in America ("Glad All Over" #6 January 1964).


Although the group was named after him, Dave Clark was the drummer; lead vocals were provided by Mike Smith who also played the keyboards. The rest of the band was Lenny Davidson on lead guitar, Rick Huxley on bass guitar, and Denny Payton on saxophone, harmonica and guitar. Songwriting credits went to Clark, Clark and Smith, Clark and Davidson, and Clark and Payton. Some early songs were also credited to Clark and Ron Ryan, who was the brother of early group member Mick Ryan.

Originating in North London, the band promoted themselves as the vanguard of the 'Tottenham Sound', a response to the Mersey Beat stable managed by Brian Epstein. They had a series of memorable hits, including "Glad All Over" that in January 1964 knocked the Beatles out of the number one position on the UK Singles Chart.

The Dave Clark Five placed 24 records in Billboard's Top 100 and 17 Top 40 United Kingdom hits between 1964 and 1967, including "Because" and "Bits and Pieces". Their song "Over and Over" went to number one in the U.S. on the Billboard Charts Hot 100 at the end of December 1965, and they played to sell-out crowds on their tours of the U.S. Heavily promoted as having a "cleaner" image than the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five holds the distinction of having made 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than any other UK group.[citation needed]

Unusual for a group of that (or any) era, the leader was the drummer Dave Clark who would play and sing with his drums positioned at the front of the stage, relegating the guitarists and keyboard to his rear and sides. The group was unique in the British Invasion because it was not an exclusively guitar-based sound. The beat was prominent and the DC5 was one of the few groups of the era to feature a sax. Smith's growling, blues-tinged vocals were in the lead on almost all of the hit singles.

After The Beatles released their movie A Hard Day's Night in 1964, The DC5, not to be outdone, released their own film Catch Us If You Can (directed by John Boorman) in 1965; the film, which also starred Barbara Ferris, was released in the United States as Having a Wild Weekend. The film's title song "Catch Us If You Can" is credited as co-written by Dave Clark, and the lead guitar player, Lenny Davidson, [1] and reached #4 in the U.S. in July 1965.

The song "Bits and Pieces" was banned from being played at their live concerts, as fans would jump up and down in time to the song's stomping beat, and promoters feared this would damage the dance hall floors.

In spite of their huge success for a period, bolstered by the movie and a television special, the hits dried up after 1967's "Nineteen Days" and "You Got What It Takes". Their efforts to embrace the prevailing trend of psychedelia were not successful. They disbanded in 1970, having placed a further three singles on the UK chart that year