The Dave Clark Five were the final act to be inducted to the Class of 2008, ushered into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by a enthusiastic speech from actor Tom Hanks.
Before his speech, there was a montage of video clips and stills, starting with Ed Sullivan's introduction from their first appearance on his show. The clips covered nine hits and included Sir Laurence Olivier talking about the group.
Hanks recalled growing up in northern California and being mesmerized by the sounds he heard coming from the Top 40 radio stations as the British Invasion exploded in early 1964. He said the second component of that was seeing the bands on Sullivan's Sunday night television show.
He recalled going to restaurants with his family, when the parents would provide 25 cents so the kids could get three songs on the juke box, which he called "the community iPod." Hanks said his sister would choose something from Motown and that his brother would play the Beach Boys, while his choice was always the DC5.
Hanks recounted how their records seemed to burst out of the speakers of transistor radios. He reflected on how the exciting new wave of music lifted the shroud of grief that had engulfed the United States since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the previous November 22.
He said the DC5's product was joy. He noted that Dave Clark held on to his publishing rights and asked, "Is there a Hall of Fame for that?" Hanks recommended that if any New Year's Eve party sags, the host should put on the DC5's string of hits because the songs will pump life back into the party. Hanks' speech wove several DC5 song titles into the narrative: "That three-minute record is taking our joylessness and smashing it to pieces -- bits and pieces."
The three surviving DC5 members, all wearing tuxedos, accepted their awards. Lenny Davidson was the first to speak and noted that the group first appeared on the Sullivan show on March 8, 1964 and that they traveled to America for the Rock Hall ceremony on March 8 of this year. He recalled when the group attended an Ella Fitzgerald performance at the Waldorf that was cut short when a curtain caught fire and the building was evacuated. Lenny mentioned the names of his children and grandchildren, and said, "Thanks to America for making us feel welcome."
Rick Huxley opened by saying, "I'm so grateful" and thanked his wife, Ann, for lifting him out of the doldrums after the group disbanded. He also thanked Dave Clark, "for pushing us, saying we're going to be famous. We are." He shook hands with Dave Clark, hugged him, then kissed Lenny on the forehead.
The bearded Dave Clark opened by saying, "I feel like I'm at the Oscars." He cited the importance of American artists like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, and said there would have been no British Invasion without their influence. He said, "They say if you can remember the '60s you weren't there. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world." He added he wasn't the greatest drummer: "I was certainly no Buddy Rich….but I didn't do that badly."
He went on to say the DC5 records were designed to make people feel good. He said the success came from a blending of the five individual talents, and "I happened to be the guy out front."
He thanked his long-time manager Colin Newman, then said the past two years had been difficult because of the loss of his sister Ann, Denis Payton and Mike Smith. He introduced Denis' sons Lee and Scott and told them, "I know your dad is very proud." He thanked Denis for his "beautiful friendship and being a big part of their lives."
He said that Mike had desperately wanted to be part of the ceremony, "but at least he knows he's a Hall of Famer. "Mike, you're with us in spirit and you always will be." He asked the audience to give their biggest applause to Denis and Mike to "let them know they're still part of our lives."
He closed saying "great music never dies" and thanked fans for making us "feel glad all over."
Joan Jett was introduced and kicked into "Bits and Pieces" as the DC5 members looked on from the front row. Paul Shaffer took Mike Smith's famous stance at the organ during the song. Then John Fogerty, John Mellencamp and Billy Joel joined Shaffer's band and Jett for a rousing "Glad All Over" that ended the ceremony.
The DC5 induction started at approximately 11:20 p.m. and the last notes of "Glad All Over" were played just before midnight.
Other highlights of the evening included producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff recalling how a chance meeting in an elevator led to their successful partnership. The Ventures, who were formed in 1959, played a tight version of their best-known hit, "Walk Don't Run," then were joined by the house band, complete with tympani, for 'Hawaii Five O." Madonna's speech included a couple of heavy-duty obscenities that were likely bleeped from the VH1 coverage. Her rowdy speech was followed by shirtless, 61-year-old Iggy Pop churning through two of her songs. Mellencamp recounted the story of how he was born with spina bifida and his life was likely saved by a daring doctor who performed delicate surgery, then charged his impoverished family only $1.
Altogether an extremely enjoyable and unforgettable evening which DC5 fans will no doubt have recorded and will play "Over and Over" again.