The Dave Clark Five Live, Where Are They?

They were one of the best singles bands of the British Invasion. Their songs burst out of the radio with sonic joy and power. They had eight top ten hits in the United States between 1964–1967.

Where are the Dave Clark Five’s live performances?

In all of my internet searches I have only found a couple of truncated videos on YouTube. One of them clearly has pre-taped background music. There are plenty of lip synched pieces out there.

Where is the live newsreel footage? Do videos, bootleg cassette tapes shot by fans during live shows exist? I see long closed message board posts in which people say they saw the band, say they had a good time with details diminished over time. The band had full tours in the UK and US. There are concert reviews and newspaper photographs in archives. It happened. But where are the sounds? Where are the thousands of screaming teenagers. Where are the books? Where are the recordings?

Dave Clark knows.

Dave Clark’s business acumen can be commended. He has complete control of the band’s catalogue. This tight control is also in danger of making the band’s music irrelevant as the catalogue only had a couple of now out of print releases on compact disc, and has no nostalgic reissues on vinyl. There is a compact disc that was released last year, I have not heard it but it seems to be poorly received for bad sound. The band’s catalog deserves a real box set release, with remastered sound, bonus material, outtakes and yes, live performances.

Which leads me to this.

How competent was Dave Clark on the drums? He’s seen in so many videos with backing tracks, miming his playing and it does not look assured. It is well documented that British session drummer Bobby Graham played on or alongside Clark on the hits. I am not saying the Dave Clark Five were the Milli Vanilli of their time. Mike Smith was a killer and incredibly underrated lead singer, the rest of the band (Lenny Davidson, Mike Huxley and Denis Payton) provided more than adequate musical ability. Credit can be given to Clark for establishing the tremendous back beat Tottenham sound that the band is known for. There is also a lot of chatter about Clark taking credit for work he did not create. How much could Clark bring to the table in a live setting? I still have not heard anything to convince me he was anything but a savvy and flawed businessman.


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