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updated: 4/19/2012 6:57 PM

Dick Clark made Prospect High grad 'feel like a big guy'

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  • Jimy Sohns and The Shadows of Knight, which was made up of Prospect High School graduates, performed on

      Jimy Sohns and The Shadows of Knight, which was made up of Prospect High School graduates, performed on
    Amazon.com

  • Dick Clark is shown. Clark, the television host who helped bring rock `n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," has died. He was 82. Spokesman Paul Shefrin says Clark died but did not provide further details. Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.

      Dick Clark is shown. Clark, the television host who helped bring rock `n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," has died. He was 82. Spokesman Paul Shefrin says Clark died but did not provide further details. Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.
    Associated Press, December 1980

  • Video: Shadows of Knight "Gloria"

 
 

Dick Clark was a man who remembered your name.

Clark presumably shook thousands of hands over the years, but when Jimy Sohns saw him on set of American Bandstand nearly 15 years after his national TV debut, Clark recognized him immediately.

"He walked in the room. He walks by and goes, 'Jimmy! Jimmy! This is the guy that sang 'Gloria,'" Sohns, the lead singer of Shadows of Knight, recalled Wednesday night.

That was in 1983, years after Clark had met Sohns as a 19-year-old who was performing on his set fresh out of Prospect High School.

Sohns and three fellow Prospect High School students formed the group in 1964, and by 1966 they had reached Billboard's top 10 with their hit "Gloria." The group was asked to perform on "American Bandstand" and on Clark's "Where the Action is," in the same week of Easter in 1966.

"You finally meet the guy you've seen all of your life," he said. "It was like the first time I met Dick Biondi."

The band, which started when Sohns was just 16, gained recognition while performing at The Cellar in Arlington Heights. The move from the Northwest suburbs to Clark's show was something Sohns never expected.

"That was the club that we broke out of," he said. "You get out of that circle, you start playing, and the next thing you know you're in California and Dick Clark is shaking your hand."

Sohns remembers that spring day vividly, down to the smallest details, 45 years later.

"It's quite a thing to do when you are 19 or 20. He came and met with you -- little cold cut trays out and stuff," he said. "It was my first experience with guacamole. Everything in California is guacamole."

Clark wasn't just a guy who put on a show for the camera, according to Sohns. He genuinely had an interest in the talent and people who came onto his show, which had already been running for 14 years.

"He was a very knowledgeable guy about music. He wasn't just a guy who came out and shook your hand. He knew that we were from the Northwest suburbs. He cared enough about his guests to make them feel noticed. He made me feel like a big guy."

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