|Mike Smith of The Dave Clark 5|
Page 2 of 2
During 1964 alone, they had 7 Top 40 hits on the American charts.
“Glad All Over” (peaking at #6)
“Bits and Pieces” (#4)
“Do You Love Me?” (#11)
“Can’t You See That She’s Mine” (#4)
“Everybody Knows (I Still Love You)” (#15)
“Any Way You Want It” (#14)
Smith co-wrote (with Dave Clark) 6 of their Top 40 hits throughout their career.
The hits kept coming in 1965 --- “Come Home” (#14); a remake of Chuck Berry’s “Reelin’ and Rockin’” (#23); and the smash “I Like It Like That” (#7).
One of their biggest 1965 hits, “Catch Us If You Can” (#4) was from their own motion picture. “Having a Wild Weekend” aka “Catch Us if You Can” was the DC5’s answer to the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night” and “Help.” However, the surprisingly brooding mood of the film (directed by John Boorman) might have put off some of the teenaged fans who were looking for the unbridled fun that the group usually exuded. The movie, however, holds up well and is a very interesting slice of the 60s.
Meanwhile, the group continued to tour and of course guest star on many English (“Ready Steady Go” and “Top of the Pops”) and American (“Hullabaloo” and “Shindig”) music shows. 1965 would end on a high note for the group. “Over and Over” would become the DC5’s one and only #1 hit in America in December.
The musical style was changing by 1966, but the DC5 were not changing their style. Their well-groomed look of matching suits and songs with rather simplistic lyrics were becoming a bit out-of-date in the fast changing world of 60s music. Meanwhile, other British groups like the Rolling Stones had usurped the DC5’s position as the Beatles’ prime rivals. And American artists, who had been silenced for almost 2 years were coming back strong. Bands like the Byrds, Tommy James & the Shondells, and The Turtles, plus all the Motown artists were producing hits. But the band managed 3 Top 30 songs in 1966-- “At the Scene” (#18), “Try Too Hard,” (#12), and “Please Tell Me Why” (#28).
The group had one last hurrah in April of 1967 with another U.S. Top 10 hit “You Got What It Takes” reaching #7. Finally, a remake of Bing Crosby’s “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” (#38) in July and Everybody Knows (#43) in December would be the last America would hear from the Dave Clark Five.
The group did produce a few more minor hits in England, but they disbanded early in 1971. After the break-up, Dave Clark and Mike continued to record –under the name Dave Clark & Friends until 1973.
Mike Smith went on to write commercial jingles and produce other artists (Shirley Bassey and opera star Michael Ball). He also briefly formed a duo with Mike D’Abo (Manfred Mann). He can also be heard on the original studio version soundtrack of “Evita.”
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, recordings of the Dave Clark Five (controlled by Dave Clark himself) were seldom heard. Finally in 1993, Clark released “The History of the Dave Clark 5” with the original recordings remastered.
By 2003 Smith had started to perform again--touring with his group, Mike Smith’s Rock Engine. However, he was restricted from using the Dave Clark name anywhere in his advertising. They appeared on David Letterman’s show in March 2003.
But 2003 turned out to be a horrendous year for Smith. His son was killed in a diving accident in the summer. And in a freak accident, Mike himself fell from a fence at his home in Spain resulting in a spinal cord injury. For the rest of his life, Mike Smith would be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to move one arm, and only having slight mobility in the other. The outpouring of love was evident as musicians such as Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits and Letterman bandleader Paul Schaffer organized benefits to help with the costs of his care. He spent 4 years in the hospital and finally returned home in December of 2007.
On March 10, 2008 the band was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. Smith was hoping to attend. He passed away of pneumonia eleven days prior to the event. But the Dave Clark Five, a forgotten gem of a group, finally received an honor that was long overdue.
They weren’t John, Paul, George, and Ringo—but Dave, Mike, Rick, Denis, and Lenny gave us some of the happiest upbeat tunes of the rock era. Yes, the group was called the Dave Clark Five, but don't forget the voice of Mike Smith that helped to wonderfully characterize the energy and fun of one of our most distinct decades—the Swingin’ 60s.