A quarter century ago, Dick Clark became the 11th musical figure with Philadelphia roots to be honored with a bronze plaque along the City of Brotherly Love's new Walk of Fame.
Clark, whose passing yesterday made a seismic quake on the pop culture landscape, came back to Philadelphia in 1987, where his career took off as the host of "Bandstand," to see his plaque unveiled. He was joined in the ceremony by Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon, two Philadelphia 'Bandstand' era pop stars whose careers were launched by Clark on the show. At the time, Clark said his inclusion on the Walk of Fame was special as a non-musician, "because you accept on behalf of all of us who love music and can't perform it."
In its 25th anniversary year, the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA), the non-profit organization which honors Philadelphia music through the Walk of Fame and other programs, today reminds the world why Clark was among the first inductees to be immortalized with a bronze plaque. And in so doing, the PMA is making plans to pay further tribute to his memory in the months ahead.
"Dick Clark was an immensely creative talent with an indelibly strong connection to Philadelphia as a showcase for popular music," said Karen Lewis, PMA chairman. "The Board of the Philadelphia Music Alliance extends condolences to his family. We will miss his inspiration, ingenuity and optimistic outlook."
The day after Clark's plaque was installed in the sidewalk along the Walk of Fame, Clark appeared at the first Philadelphia Music Awards show for induction into the Hall of Fame. Clark, who began hosting "Bandstand" here in 1956, said local support for emerging talent – one of the purposes of the PMA – is essential for the development of new performers.
"The hardest thing for a new artist to do is not to give up," he told a reporter during his Philadelphia visit to receive the PMA honors. "If they get no support and no help, they will get discouraged and they'll do something else."
Above and beyond immortalizing careers through induction ceremonies along the Avenue of the Arts, the global aim of the Philadelphia Music Alliance is to become THE music authority in Philadelphia. True to its name, the PMA aims to stress its position as a vital alliance, forming new partnerships with all levels of the Philadelphia music community, the public and private sector, while further empowering the city's ongoing musical legacy and encouraging the growth of Walk of Fame inductees for future generations.
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame is a living tribute to Philadelphia's rich music history and a vital force unifying the city's diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts.