"American Bandstand's" 50th Anniversary

Frankie Avalon and Deborah Gibson represent two different eras of "American Bandstand" — the 1950s and 1980s respectively — but are coming together to honor the 50th anniversary of the show hosted by legendary Dick Clark.

In honor of the occasion, a special collection of CDs featuring some of the best music of the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s will go on sale later this month featuring some of the artists who can thank the show for their fame.

Gibson was just a teenager when she was on the show in the late 1980s towards the end of its run. She said she knew she was part of something special when she was asked to be on the show.

2"It meant a lot," she told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "Being a kid and being in the music business you might have thought ... you would have thought I would (do) MTV or something like that, but I grew up on — I loved '50s and '60s music and I thought, 'Oh my God, Dick Clark is about to introduce me. He's about to say my name and introduce my song.' You feel like a part of music history when that happens."

Avalon said he appeared on the show to sing his big hit "Venus" 50 years ago. A native of Philadelphia, Avalon was on the show was it was still based in his hometown so it had even more meaning for him.

"It wasn't just guys like myself singing those songs that people were buying, the kids were buying," he said. "Five million kids a day watched 'American Bandstand' for many reasons. Dick Clark had that relationship with the kids, the artist."

3"American Bandstand" was the precursor to "TRL," the popular MTV show that many young people watch each day. Just like it's important for an artist with a new record to appear on that show, it was important for them to go on "Bandstand."

"If you had a record breaking or on the verge of breaking you know it would be pushed over the edge after being on 'American Bandstand,' " Avalon said. "It was like having a stamp of approval."

Going on that show made Avalon a teen sensation who could barely walk down the street without being mobbed by fans.

"In 1956 in high school, nobody screamed or yelled for Frankie, you know," he said. "But all of a sudden, one year later, I've got this song called 'Dede Dinah' and I can't walk down the street here in New York City or anyplace … It was the most exciting time of my life."

Gibson and Avalon will host an infomercial to promote the "American Bandstand" starting Aug. 24.

"You know, I always say music is like the soundtrack to our lives," Gibson said. "You always remember where you were and what you were doing, who you were dating, when you hear a song. This is the most complete history lesson."
  • Caitlin Johnson

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