Dave Clark Five

Dave Clark 5, 1964

“Dave Clark Five 1964” by MGM – eBay itemphoto frontphoto back. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

2008 was a milestone year in the history of the Dave Clark Five. It marked the 50th anniversary of the band’s founding, its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and; on a far more melancholy note, the death of lead singer Mike Smith. Smith, who was seriously injured in a fall in 2003, died of pneumonia five years later.

The original DC5 grew out of a skiffle band organized by Dave Clark in the late 1950s north of London. Though the band carried his name, Clark was the drummer – not the lead singer. At concerts, his drums would be set at the front of the stage, with his bandmates alongside and behind him. Mike Smith, the lead singer, played keyboards. Lenny Davidson was lead guitarist, Rick Huxley played bass and Denny Payton played sax and harmonica.

By early 1964, it was the DC5 (and not the Rolling Stones) who were the Beatles’ chief rivals. It was promoted as a competition pitting the Merseybeat sound of Liverpool against the Tottenham sound of the London area. And while the Beatles ultimately prevailed, the Dave Clark Five notched 17 top 40 hits in the US (12 in Britain) between 1964 and 1967.

The run that began with “Glad All Over” ended with “Please Tell Me Why” in 1966. In between came the hard-driving “Bits and Pieces,” “Can’t You See That She’s Mine,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Catch Us If You Can” and “Over and Over.” Even after the Top Forty string was broken, when “Satisfied With You” stalled at #50, the DC5 continued to make the charts through 1967, hitting the Top Ten once again with “You Got What It Takes.” By the time it was all over, the Dave Clark Five had sold 50 million records.

In 1965, the band followed the Beatles’ lead with A Hard Day’s Night and released its own movie, Catch Us If You Can (titled Having A Wild Weekend in the US).

The movie was the brainchild of Clark, who is now known as one of the best business minds in the entertainment industry. During their prime, he employed the other band members and paid for all of their recording sessions, becoming sole owner of the band’s recording rights. He gained creative control over the band’s output, including final say over what songs would be released as singles. Clark also set up a publishing company for the band’s original material.

Surving band members Lenny Davidson, Dave Clark and Rick Huxley inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, March, 2008

Surving band members Lenny Davidson, Dave Clark and Rick Huxley inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, March, 2008

The DC5 never strayed far from its formula of creating catchy, danceable pop tunes; and by the late Sixties, its popularity was fading. The Dave Clark Five disbanded in 1970, and unlike many of the other British Invasion bands, it never re-formed. Clark’s reasoning: “We can’t better than what we’ve done,” he said in 1993. “I’ll leave that to the exciting new acts.”

Mike Smith released a CD in 2000 titled It’s Only Rock & Roll and returned to performing in 2003 after a 25 year hiatus. He formed Mike Smith’s Rock Engine and did two mini-tours of the U.S. Smith died on February 28, 2008 in London from a spinal injury.

Denis Payton died in December, 2006 at the age of 63 after a long battle with cancer. Rick Huxley died from emphysema in  February, 2013 at the age of 72. Len Davidson taught guitar for many years at a school in Cambridgeshire, where he still lives.

Click here to read Rhino Records’ founder Harold Bronson’s take on Dave Clark. 

Click here to listen to the Dave Clark Five and the other 60s artists on British Invasion Radio. It’s free!

Dave Clark Five Video

“Catch Us If You Can,” abridged version of live Ed Sullivan Show performance, 1965.


Dave Clark Five Discography

Hit Singles on the US Charts

Title | Billboard peak | Cashbox peak | Release date
“I Walk The Line” – – 1963
“Chaquita” – – 1964
“Glad All Over” #6 #5 February 1964
“Bits and Pieces” #4 #4 April 1964
“I Knew It All The Time” #53 #73 April 1964
“Do You Love Me” #11 #8 May 1964
“Can’t You See That She’s Mine” #4 #4 June 1964
“Because” #3 #7 August 1964
“Everybody Knows” #15 #22 October 1964
“Anyway You Want It” #14 #9 November 1964
“Come Home” #14 #13 February 1965
“Reelin’ and Rockin'” #23 #15 April 1965
“I Like It Like That” #7 #6 June 1965
“Catch Us If You Can” #4 #6 August 1965
Over And Over” #1 #1 November 1965
“At The Scene” #18 #13 February 1966
“Try Too Hard” #12 #10 April 1966
“Please Tell Me Why” #28 #18 June 1966
“Satisfied With You” #50 #51 August 1966
“Nineteen Days” #48 #45 October 1966
“I’ve Got To Have A Reason” #44 #55 January 1967
“You Got What It Takes” #7 #8 April 1967
“You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” #35 #35 June 1967
“Red And Blue” #89 #69 November 1967
“Everybody Knows” #43 #41 December 1967

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