They led the second wave of the '60s "British Invasion," after the Beatles. They cultivated a cleaner image than even the Beatles had, yet created an arguably harder sound.
Drummer Dave Clark was the first prominent Rock drummer to lead his own band, as well as the first to manage his own band, and one of the first musicians to produce his own band.
They were one of the first UK bands to base their sound around drums as opposed to guitar, and to write its own material.
They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show
a remarkable 12 times (this number has been reported as high as 18, but Greg Vines, who maintains the archives of the show, explains that they made 12 live performances, three of which were again aired as repeats, plus film clips of the band were featured on another episode). Their first appearance came on March 8, 1964, exactly a month after The Beatles historic performance. It was the band's first visit to America, and while they didn't reach Beatlemania-level hysteria, The Dave Clark Five got quite a reception. "We'd never been to anywhere like that," Clark told us. "We came back to Kennedy Airport, and there were 30,000 people there - they had to fly us out on a helicopter to get us into New York. That's how we hit America. It was amazing." (Here's our full Dave Clark interview
They were one of the first and most successful bands to cross over into movies. Clark actually started out as a movie stuntman.
Clark owns the rights to the legendary British TV pop series Ready Steady Go!
The very successful London musical Time was written by Clark. It ran for two years in London's West End from 1986-88 and featured Laurence Olivier as a hologram in his last ever stage role.
Mike Smith went on to produce several successful artists, including Shirley Bassey.
They finally were voted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007. The previous year, a Fox News investigation revealed that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five received 6 fewer votes, but was chosen over The Dave Clark Five because Hall Of Fame chairman (and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine) Jann Wenner felt they needed a Rap act inducted. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above)
Mike Smith was just a few days away from being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame when he died on February 28, 2008 of pneumonia at the age of 64. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
After leaving school at 15, Dave Clark worked as an extra at Elstree studios, appearing in more than 40 films, including Richard Burton's Beckett and Elizabeth Taylor's The VIPs. He eventually became a stunt man. "I knew how to tumble, 'cos I'd done unarmed combat. I was fighting on horseback, sword fights, explosions, car crashes," Clark recalled to The Daily Telegraph. "It was all fun. You were young, confident, if you wanted to do something, you'd do it."
Dave Clark was a good friend of Freddie Mercury and was one of a group of five pals who took it in turns to keep a bedside vigil during the Queen frontman's last days in 1991. Clark was the only person with Mercury when he died at his Kensington home.