Dick Clark was really important. Why?
Because we didn't have a video channel back then.
American Bandstand was the show. It started airing before I was born.
When it popped into my life, it was a weekly (Saturday afternoon) show. You'd have groups come on and lip synch their hits.
Most people did not play their hits.
Your first clue is there's no band around and they've got a band sound? From where?
But as pre-teens and teens we didn't care. It didn't matter.
All that mattered was, "Look, it's the Mamas and the Papas!"
And it was a pretty big deal.
It was a way to get a weekly fix of music. There are better shows today -- I don't deny it -- but it was an early trail blazer.
And Dick Clark was the always smiling, always kind and polite host. The eternal teenager -- if you defined teenager as Ricky Nelson and I believe Dick Clark did. The generation gap didn't make him obsolete but 60s teens weren't his type.
He was no doubt not as clean and pure as he pretended to be. No one could have been and he had his hands in payola so let's not confuse his image with him.
But for a lot of people my age -- and ever more who are older -- he made a real difference and we counted on him to supply us with music. We counted on him for that because he always supplied it.
If you know someone effected by the death and you're just learning about Dick Clark now, that's why he mattered to several generations.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday: