Mike Smith of the Dave Clark 5 has passed away from pneumonia at the age of 64. A few years ago, Mike, the DC5's keyboardist and lead singer, as well as songwriter, was paralyzed in an accident. Much as I was a Beatles fan back during the British Invasion that changed rock 'n' roll forever, I adored Herman's Hermits and Dave Clark 5 more. Peter Noone of the Hermits and Mike Smith of the DC5 were my favs. I was happy that, after years of not making it, the DC5 were finally elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year and Mike had been looking forward to attending the induction ceremony in less than 2 weeks. He won't get to do that now, but at least he died knowing the band had finally been acknowledged as one of the major groups of its time and was going to be properly honored.
I never got to see him perform in person. My last memory of him making music was when he filled in for Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman, shortly before his accident. And mostly, I got to hear only snatches of music because on the show, the music is mostly played during the commercial breaks, which those of us watching on TV don't get to enjoy.
In the grand scheme of things, people die every day. When they aren't family members or friends, we can feel sorry but rarely are touched personally by the loss. When it comes to entertainers, that isn't quite true, because while we may not be part of their lives, they are part of ours, part of our memories. Mike Smith will forever be in my memory, standing at his keyboards, playing and singing, on TV back in the '60s, part of my childhood and adolescence.
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