About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

Though my main focus is Christmas-themed entertainments, I also write about New Year's, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and various other December holidays.  I cover these other holidays because there is much overlap in our television and filmed stories about these celebrations.  I also discovered in my research that the themes of these specific holiday stories are also nearly identical (themes of coming together, family, forgiveness, second chances, miracles, and tradition and ritual are the most common).

Like so many other TV viewers, I've made it a habit of watching Dick Clark host the live countdown to the ball drop in Times Square each New Year's Eve.  With Clark's passing on April 18th, I'd like to remember him by discussing a TV special which aired last New Year's Eve--a tribute to the past 40 years of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve TV specials.  This two-hour special entitled New Year's Rockin' Eve: 40th Anniversary Party was a live broadcast that aired just before the annual New Year's Rockin' Eve coverage of the ball drop in 2011.

The 40th Anniversary Party aired live, hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy with special appearances by Ryan Seacrest.  Live musical performances included: Hot Chelle Rae; Pitbull; The Band Perry; Florence + The Machine; LMFAO; and, OneRepublic.  This holiday TV special also included a countdown of the 40 best musical performances of top artists from the past 40 years of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve specials.

Dick Clark in Times Square in the 1980s

The 40 best performances countdown includes the following clips:
#40: Celebrate by Three Dog Night in 1973;
#39: Just Another New Year’s Eve by Barry Manilow in 1981;
#38: Like a G-6 by Far East Movement in 2011;
#37: Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men in 2001;
#36: All Night Long by Lionel Richie in 2009;
#35: Last Dance by Donna Summer in 2004;
#34: Hold My Hand by Hootie & the Blowfish in 1995;
#33: Home by Daughtry in 2010;
#32: Shoop by Salt-N-Pepa in 1995;
#31: Walk Like an Egyptian by the Bangles in 1987.

#30: Unfaithful by Rihanna in 2007;
#29: Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg by TLC in 1993;
#28: Girl’s Night Out by Miley Cyrus in 2008;
#27: White Wedding by Billy Idol in 2005;
#26: Conga by Miami Sound Machine in 1987;
#25: S.O.S by the Jonas Brothers in 2008;
#24: Maneater by Hall & Oates in 1983;
#23: I Honestly Love You by Olivia Newton John in 1975;
#22: One Time by Justin Bieber in 2010;
#21: Fergalicious by Fergie in 2007.

From the Archive of American Television: Dick Clark discussing New Year's Rockin' Eve

The countdown continues: #20: Picture to Burn by Taylor Swift in 2009;
#19: Medley by NKOTBSB in 2011;
#18: Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys in 1975;
#17: Shout by Tears for Fears in 1986;
#16: Get the Party Started by Pink in 2002;
#15: It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye by Boyz II Men in 1992;
#14: Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band in 1976;
#13: Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls in 2006;
#12: Heart of Glass by Blondie in 1980;
#11: Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield in 1982.

Jennifer Lopez performed in a one-piece outfit in the rain!

#10: Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood in 2008;
#9: We Got the Beat by the Go-Go’s in 1983;
#8: Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas in 2010;
#7: Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince in 1989;
#6: Wannabe by the Spice Girls in 1998;
#5: Candyman by Christina Aguilera in 2007;
#4: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club in 1984;
#3: Y.M.C.A. by the Village People in 1993;
#2: We Belong Together by Mariah Carey in 2006; and,
#1: Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez in 2010.

Last year's New Year's Rockin' Eve would be last one.

Though Dick Clark himself did not appear in this 40th Anniversary TV special, there was a short segment of edited clips of Dick enduring snow, cold, wind and talking to people from all over the world in Times Square during his annual New Year’s TV specials over the past 40 years.

Though no summary ever replaces the experience of watching the TV program yourself, it is satisfying to know that Dick Clark's legacy was being celebrated while he was still alive.  These 40 songs selected as the best performances over 40 years are a quick snapshot of popular music over the last several decades.  Though no mention is made on who selected these 40 performances, I assume the aged Dick Clark had nothing to do with it.  However, I'd rather hear about the 40 performances Dick Clark would choose.

Since Clark's stroke in 2004, his hosting duties had been diminished while Ryan Seacrest stepped in to lead the show.  But Dick still made appearances on each of his New Year's Rockin' Eve specials since his stroke despite his frail health.  Clark will be missed.  And, my apologies to Ryan Seacrest but...New Year's Eve will never quite be the same.

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