Dave Clark sounded pretty good on vinyl, as some 50 million people who bought his music will attest.
But it’s been almost two decades since the catalog by this veteran of the first wave of the British Invasion has been available in North America, a time that has seen vinyl vanish in favor of compact discs and cassettes.
Enter Hollywood Records, which earlier this month released a collection of the Dave Clark Five’s best on cassette and compact disc. The double CD/cassette compilation features two hours of music, including all of the band’s 30 hits, as well as rare B-sides, extensive liner notes and numerous photos.
Clark, the drummer whose pounding hits included “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces,” made his band one of the leading lights of the early ’60s British Invasion that included the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and other industry superstars. Still, he said he never dreamed his quintet would achieve the status it has.
“I made records purely for fun — songs that made you feel good,” Clark said. “I left the message songs to people like John Lennon.”
Unlike virtually all of his peers of that time, Clark was a savvy businessman who never completely gave up control of his recordings. That enabled him to withdraw his catalog from the marketplace in the late ’70s because fifth- and sixth-generation mastered recordings had come to dominate his selections in U.S. record stores.
“Most of it was electronically reprocessed stereo, and I felt it was ripping off the public,” Clark said. “So I took it off the market and allowed time to get rid of all those.”
Clark spent a year putting together the Hollywood Records collection, using his original engineer and sorting through tons of tape. “I haven’t heard some of them since I was in the studio recording them,” he admitted.
The 50-something Clark retired from the business in 1970, having grown weary of the constant tour grind and hysterical celebrity pressures. “After two world tours where we played every state but Greenland, I only saw the inside of a hotel,” he said. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but it did get tiring.”
And without the lure of money, there was no need to keep on. Clark licensed his recordings to EMI Records, with the rights reverting to him after a set period.
Although he feels he could get back in practice, he’s not tempted by the multimillion-dollar offers for a reunion tour with bandmates Mike Smith, Lenny Davidson, Denis Payton and Rick Huxley.
Instead, Clark dabbles in various producing jobs. His biggest venture recently was co-writing and producing a musical called “Time” for the London stage. Clark also produced a series of videos for the British TV show “Ready Steady Go!”