The “Untold Story” by Stanley J. Blitz
(229 pages – Cornucopia Publications – 1997 as told to John Pritchard)
- Bandstand founder Bob Horn belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame belongs in Philadelphia – not Cleveland
- Bob Horn stands on nearly equal ground with Alan Freed as the purveyor of Rock and Roll
- There was a mystery (read conspiracy) to get rid of Bob Horn by WFIL executives and replace him with Dick Clark
- Dick Clark was less than straightforward in his treatment of Bob Horn in his biographies
- Bob Horn was a much better and more popular host of Bandstand than the young Clark
Well, that’s a log to bite off and beyond Stanley, I’m not sure anyone cares. But it was a noble effort. Horn is portrayed as a rhythm and blues enthusiast working outside the accepted norms of society to promote black music in the early 1950’s. The photo section of the book displays Horn with Pat Boone, Joni James, Jerry Blavat, Tony Bennett, Johnny Ray, Julius LaRosa and many more stars of the pop but no so much rock era. But of course spinning records in 1952, 1953, etc., wouldn’t present much opportunity to really rock out. Haley’s Comets did make it onto the show in 1955 – Now remember this was strictly a radio show in the beginning.
The book features some strange formatting and layout – Most of the photos are poor reproductions down a few generations. The presentation of the “mystery” behind Horn, his “suspicious death” and his legacy tended to wear me down a bit. The book has some interesting historical merit. But in spite of the effort, I will still take Dick Clark and American Bandstand, but I am a member of the “next” generation to follow the Bandstand original regulars.
I did find this fact interesting: “The term “Rock ‘n’ Roll” was chosen by the industry jocks and such to avoid risking an infringement of treading on Alan Freed’s coined term “Rock and Roll”. I didn’t know that. Horn was replaced by Dick Clark in 1956 after receiving a drunk driving charge and was also acquitted of a more serious allegation – read for yourself on Wiki. Horn died from a heart attack in Houston, TX in 1966 at a rather young age of 50.