…as it was originally titled, had it’s beginnings back in the fall of 1952 when it was created by Philadelphia station WFIL and was first hosted by a duo of Bob Horn and Lee Stewart. The two didn’t get along particularly well and in 1955 Stewart was encouraged to depart. Horn carried on with his unique format of televising kids dancing. Many of the early 50’s pop singers appeared on the show but Horn injected a new brand of music – r&b and rock and roll.
During this same time period a very young Dick Clark was hosting the radio version of “Bandstand” also at the WFIL studios. He was disappointed with the records he had to play and yearned to cross over more towards Horn’s format. Horn would open and close Clark’s radio show and then in-between host the televised version.
Then in the summer of 1956 Bob Horn fell from grace – hit with a drunk driven charge and was promptly dispatched. This was followed by a statutory rape charge – of which he was acquitted – then another drunk driving charge and then tax evasion. He had been very popular with the kids on Bandstand and they initially were reluctant to accept his young successor – Dick Clark. Clark quickly remedied that by personally speaking with the kids outside the studio as they were picketing the opening of his first program. When the doors opened – Clark was greatly relieved to see the would-be protestors enter into the studio – and “American Bandstand” was born.
Here is a chronological presentation – day-by-day with the performing artists on each program along with a scan of the recording performed and a artist photo – as well as a few time line presentations. I will take this presentation as far as I am able – toward and up-to-the-date when “American Bandstand” migrated to Los Angeles, California.
The “Bandstand” map shown above was used to begin each show in the early days – with the premiere or “committee” dancers positioned directly behind it – dancing to Les Elgart’s “Bandtand Boogie” which was composed in 1954.
Bandstand went national on August 5th, 1957 with the first two performers being Billy Williams “Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself a Letter” along with The Chordettes peforming “Just Between You and Me”. Over 4,000 performers appeared on Bandstand over the years – many multiple times. I am building the chronology year-by-year starting with August 5th, 1957.