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'The Dave Clark Five' review: PBS' praise for pop

The Dave Clark Five.

The Dave Clark Five. Credit: Dave Clark International / MCT

MUSIC TRIBUTE "The Dave Clark Five and Beyond -- Glad All Over" on "Great Performances"

WHEN|WHERE Tuesday night at 8 on PBS/13 (also Friday at 10 p.m.)

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Seems we always overlook the third exemplar. Hollywood history salutes Chaplin and Keaton, while neglecting concurrent comedy pioneer Harold Lloyd. Rock mavens revere '60s British Invasion icons The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But what about the Dave Clark Five?

There's an argument to be made, and in "Glad All Over," Clark takes it upon himself to make it. The now-71-year-old bandleader, drummer and rights-owning impresario gives us a two-hour tribute he produced, directed and presented through his modestly named Dave Clark International Productions.

He does, of course, have lots to crow about. London's DC5 paralleled Liverpool's Beatles through a hit-singles string that included throbbing rockers "Bits and Pieces," "Over and Over," "I Like It Like That," "You Got What It Takes" and the ballad "Because." They had their own crazed-fan mob scenes and also hit the big screen, in "Having a Wild Weekend" by their own rising director (John Boorman, "Deliverance"). Wrote critic god Pauline Kael, "It's as if Pop art had discovered Chekhov."

And pop was what the DC5 exemplified. The Beatles were timeless tunesmiths. The Stones were gritty bluesmen. And Clark, who also produced and managed his group (of course), assembled a hit sound as big as the "wall" Phil Spector made famous. Admiring it tonight are Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt, citing the band's sax and organ; Elton John, extolling the group's live gigs; and Gene Simmons, in full KISS regalia, praising its "modern electric church." Springsteen places DC5 vocalist Mike Smith among "the all-time great rock and roll singers," with evidence in vintage clips from "The Ed Sullivan Show," movies and more.

MY SAY In laying out Clark's claim to greatness, "Glad All Over" oversells itself. Its witness rockers keep popping up to shower hosannas, as does Tom Hanks' near-rabid induction of the group to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Clark badly needed an outside eye to edit this argument he can't stop larding.

BOTTOM LINE Still, they've got what it takes.


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