Back when I was growing up, Saturday was a day where I could either sleep in or get up early to watch cartoons. But no matter what I did, there was always a little TV show called "American Bandstand" that I'd watch each week.

Since I grew up in the '70s, I saw the Jackson 5, Robert John, the Commodores, Bread and Joe Cocker, just to name a few. And it didn't bother me that these artists basically lip-synced their songs. All I knew was, these guys were on the show.

As "American Bandstand" moved into the '80s, I saw Madonna make her debut, and Lionel Richie when he took off solo from the Commodores. (I wish I had been alive when the Doors sang "Crystal Ship," but that was a few months too early for my lifetime.)

Host Dick Clark sure had the connections. He was in touch with the Top 40 of the day and able to book the most recent acts to his show.

And the camera would scan the studio as the teens and early 20somethings would dance. Not only did they have the moves, they had the fashions of the day.

"American Bandstand" was a precursor to MTV (that is, the MTV that was first a 24-hour music station).

What I liked was that Clark would interview the artists after they made their appearance. It was fun hearing the singers use their talking voices.

Now, Time Life has released a 12-CD/1 DVD box set dedicated to "American Bandstand."

"Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary" box set is a celebration of music. With songs ranging from Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" to Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" to Barry Manilow's "Mandy" and Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes," the box set is a trip down memory lane.

The inclusion of an interview DVD that features Clark talking with Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Avalon, the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bobby Darin, the Doors and Madonna is priceless — especially when you see how Clark is able to keep his youthful appearance throughout the years.

Along with the music and visuals is a 40-page booklet that contains rare photos of artists and some of the show's star dancers (along with a certificate of authenticity).

Music buffs will appreciate the historic value of this set; music fans will love going back and hearing the songs that remind them of high school, college or their youth in general.


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