British Invasion's Second Wave: Dave Clark Five

The history, songs, and music of these British Invasion stompers

Dave Clark Five performing on Ed Sullivan Show, 1967

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They were never as celebrated as the Beatles or the Stones, but the DC5 (as they were sometimes abbreviated) arguably rocked as hard as any of the more famous British Invasion bands, and they were doing so from the beginning. They even gave the Beatles a run for their money back in their formative years.

Most Popular Songs

  • "Glad All Over"
  • "Bits & Pieces"
  • "Because"
  • "Catch Us If You Can"
  • "Can't You See That She's Mine"
  • "Anyway You Want It"
  • "Over and Over"
  • "Do You Love Me"
  • "I Like It Like That"
  • "You Got What It Takes"

Where You Might Have Heard Them

"Glad All Over" was featured in the 2006 comedy Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties, and "Catch Us If You Can" is featured in the 1990 sequel Look Who's Talking Too, sung by sperm as they fertilize an egg. No, really.


1961 (Tottenham, London, England)


Rock and Roll, Pop, Pop-rock, British invasion

The Classic Dave Clark Five Lineup

  • Dave Clark (b. David Clark, December 15, 1942, Tottenham, London, England): drums
  • Mike Smith (b. Michael George Smith, December 6, 1943, Edmonton, North London, England; died February 28, 2008, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England): vocals, organ
  • Lenny Davidson (b. Leonard Arthur Davidson, May 30, 1944, Enfield, London, England): lead guitar
  • Rick Huxley (b. Richard Huxley, August 5, 1942, Dartford, Kent, England); died February 11, 2013, Old Harlow, Essex, England): bass
  • Denny Payton (b. Denis West Payton, August 11, 1943, Walthamstow, London, England; d. December 17, 2006, Bournemouth, Dorset, England): rhythm guitar, harmonica, saxophone

Claims to Fame

  • Led the second wave of the Sixties' "British Invasion," after the Beatles
  • The first British rock band to tour the US
  • Cultivated a "cleaner" image than even the Beatles had, yet created an arguably harder sound
  • Drummer Dave Clark was the first prominent rock drummer to lead his own band, as well as the first to manage his own band, and one of the first musicians to produce his own band
  • One of the first UK bands to base their sound around drums as opposed to guitar, and to write its own material
  • Appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show more often than any other band
  • One of the first and most successful bands to cross over into movies

Early Years

The DC5 began life as a side project, a way for Clark to raise money for his soccer team. Although not a musician, he bought a set of drums, taught himself to play them, and formed a band, which soon found a steady gig backing up singer Stan Saxon in a North London club. Soon they were signed to Britain's Pye Records, and even enjoyed a small hit with their cover of the Contours' "Do You Love Me." But their next single, the original "Glad All Over," hit big, knocking the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" out of the top spot in their native country. Clark's primitive, self-produced tribal drum sound was a smash.


Soon, the group was getting airplay in the States, thanks to promoters looking for the logical follow-up to the Beatles. But the "Tottenham Sound" of the DC5 was harder and more raucous than the "Merseybeat" sound of the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, etc. Clark, a natural businessman, managed and produced his own band, and made several smart business decisions which ensured the group would hang on to the money it made. Before the Stones, Kinks, and Who arrived in 1965, the Dave Clark Five were considered the Beatles' chief British Invasion rival, scoring 15 top 20 hits in three years.

Later Years

Although Clark and company tried to shift with the changing cultural tide in the late Sixties, they met with little success, being forever tagged as a teenyboppers' group. After some success in the nascent "oldies revival" trend, they called it quits in 1970. Original member Denis Payton died in 2006; on October 15th, 2003, Mike Smith was horribly injured while climbing a fence on his property in Spain, falling and leaving himself permanently paralyzed in both legs and one arm. He succumbed to complications from his injuries in 2008.

 Facts and Trivia

  • Clark actually started out as a movie stuntman
  • Sold out 12 shows at Carnegie Hall in three days
  • "Bits and Pieces" created such stomping from crowds live that it was often banned from performance
  • "Over and Over" was originally performed by Bobby Day as the b-side of his hit "Rockin' Robin"
  • Clark owns the rights to the legendary British TV pop series Ready Steady Go!
  • The very successful London musical Time (1986) was written by Clark
  • Mike Smith went on to produce several successful artists, including Shirley Bassey
  • Session drummer Bobby Graham has claimed he, not Clark, played drums on the DC5's hits; this has been disputed

Hit Singles and Albums

#1 hits: "Over And Over" (1965)

Top 10 hits: "Glad All Over" (1964), "Because" (1964), "Bits And Pieces" (1964), "Can't You See That She's Mine" (1964), "Catch Us If You Can" (1965), "I Like It Like That" (1965), "You Got What It Takes" (1967)

Top 10 albums: Glad All Over (1964), The Dave Clark Five Return! (1964), Coast To Coast (1965), The Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits (1965)

Famous Covers 

KISS and the Ramones have both covered "Any Way You Want It" while Joan Jett rocked out her take on "Bits and Pieces" on I Love Rock N' Roll album. The Supremes also covered "Because" on their 1964 theme album A Bit of Liverpool (the DC5 were not from Liverpool).

Movies and TV

The Dave Clark Five made a splash with their cameo in the British musical comedy Young, Willing and Eager, and it eventually led to their own 1965 Hard Day's Night-style romp called Catch Us If You Can (in the US it was titled Having a Wild Weekend). They later attempted an abortive try at their own TV variety series with "Hold On, It's the Dave Clark Five!" Clark also had a cameo of his own in the 1983 horror film The Being