(Shown from L-R: Rick Huxley, Lenny Davidson, Denis Payton,
Mike Smith and Dave Clark)


1943 to 2006


1943 to 2008

R&R Hall of Fame Too Late for Two of the DC5

Back in the mid-60s, the first thing I noticed about the Dave Clark Five was how damn good-looking they were. And such gentlemen! Unlike most groups who wore rebelliousness and bad behavior like a badge of honor, the “DC5,” as they were dubbed in fan shorthand, were well mannered, bright, funny, respectful and fun. In their trademark blazers, coordinated slacks and black boots, Dave Clark, Mike Smith, Denis Payton, Rick Huxley and Lenny Davidson were the complete package: good looks, talent and class. Thrilled to act as one of their publicists from 1965-70, I saw them as British knights in shining armor come to conquer America.

Influenced by everyone from Elvis Presley to Little Richard to Ray Charles, the DC5 became rock royalty, part of “The British Invasion” that included the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Unlike the latter two bands, however, the Dave Clark Five were endlessly passed over for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an oversight protested by music professionals and fans, particularly after they stalled in the 2006 and 2007 semifinals. Eligible since 1989 (25 years after their first US recording), the DC5 were finally inducted in a moving ceremony on March 10, 2008, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Longtime admirer Tom Hanks did the honors.

Two were missing

For those attending the event, the long-overdue tribute was deeply emotional and bittersweet. Of the original five bandmates, two were missing: Denis Payton and Mike Smith. Payton, whose gritty saxophone contributed to the DC5’s distinctive sound, succumbed to cancer in 2006. And Smith, the sexy, soulful lead singer and flamboyant keyboardist, passed away only two weeks before the ceremony due to respiratory complications from a spinal cord injury suffered in 2003.

Their music, like the group from North London that created it, was thrilling, powerful, and invigorating-a positive, joyful force, especially to those going through adolescence during the turbulent era following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Hits like “Glad All Over.” “Bits and Pieces,” “Because” and “Over And Over” soared to the top of the charts.

100 million records worldwide

daveclarkfive.jpgLike the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five became famous in the U.S. after a single appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Aside from the Fab Four from Liverpool, no other rock group came close to their hit-making prowess. Between 1964 and 1966-aside from appearing on Ed Sullivan (shown in photo above) an astonishing 18 times-the DC5 placed 15 consecutive singles in the Top 40 and sold out six coast-to-coast tours, including 12 shows at Carnegie Hall in three days. In 1970, when leader Dave Clark decided to call it quits while the DC5 were still “at the top” of their game, the band had generated 30 hit singles and sold over 100 million records worldwide.

On March 10th, backed by film clips of live performances, the three surviving DC5 members-drummer Dave Clark, guitarist Lenny Davidson and bassist Rick Huxley took the stage at the Waldorf-Astoria for the Rock and Roll honor so long denied. The two missing bandmates, Mike Smith and Denis Payton, were very much present in spirit. So much so that Clark, Davidson, Huxley and many in the audience were brought to tears when the Dave Clark Five was officially inducted into rock immortality.

The true product was joy…unparalleled joy

In a rousing introduction, Tom Hanks recalled how music, more than anything in his life, had transformed his early years in a drab, rented apartment in Southern California, especially when he heard the DC5 punching through the small speaker on his sister’s clock radio. Besotted with the fellows from Tottenham, Hanks flipped feverishly through pages of songs on jukeboxes to find “I Like It Like That” and other DC5 hits and treated Sunday nights watching Ed Sullivan like a religious experience.

associated-press.jpg“The true product was joy,” Hanks said about the spirited blend of drums, sax, keyboard, guitar and vocals that had him yelling to his father to turn up the volume on the car radio. “Unparalleled joy!”

Formed for the fun of playing the music

In accepting the Hall of Fame trophy, Dave Clark (next to Tom Hanks in the AP photo above) said he felt lucky to meet four guys who all had the same interests and goals in life. (Rick Huxley and Lenny Davidson are also pictured.) “The DC5 was originally formed for the fun of playing the music we all enjoyed,” Clark told the audience. “Each of the boys had his own special talent but the combination is what really made it work. It was not just The Dave Clark Five: it was Mike, Denis, Rick, Lenny and Dave. It was the five individual talents that made the DC5 so successful…I just happened to be the guy at the front.” Clark asked the audience to applaud “so they know they are still part of our lives.”

“At least Mike knew he was a Hall of Famer,” said Clark, who had spent the previous Sunday at Smith’s home watching their beloved Tottenham Hotspur soccer team. “Mike was thrilled,” Clark said, and had been preparing to attend the event with his wife Charlie when he contracted pneumonia. Clark also introduced Denis Payton’s sons, Lee and Scott, and said how “proud” their father was of them.

Two lonely trophies

Denis and Mike’s absence was even more poignant for me following the televised ceremony. As the inductees, including Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen and The Ventures, celebrated with awards in hand, I noticed two lonely trophies sitting on the table. I read the name engraved on each one-Mike Smith . . . Denis Payton. Reality set in. They were no longer with us. In the midst of all the gaiety, I missed my friends more than ever.

Mike Smith (far left in photo below) was the ‘Dennis the Menace’ of the group, more the mischievous type than a troublemaker. He had a roguish twinkle in his eyes and an impish, crooked smile-you always knew he was up to something. And what a voice. One of the best rock singers ever.

18945607-18945608-dave-clark-five.jpgLike Dave Clark, Denis Payton (in dotted shirt) was classically handsome. He appeared shy and vulnerable, but he actually had a lot to say and a quick wit. Warm, dark eyes and that cleft in his chin-what girl could resist?

Both men left us way too soon, Denis at 63, Mike at 64. Denis after a long bout with cancer; Mike following the freak accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down the last five years of his life. Prior to his own misfortune, Mike lost his only son, Jamie, in a diving accident.

Denis Payton and Mike Smith will be missed but never forgotten. They exhibited courage and strength of spirit in dealing with illnesses and tragedy when lesser souls would not have exhibited such bravery. As I observed four decades earlier, through the entire journey they were indeed a class act-gentle men to the end.

Editor’s Note: Nola Leone, president of Ace Music Services in Los Angeles, was a publicist for the DC5 during the 1960s and still acts as a licensing agent for group’s recordings for TV, films and commercials. (Katharine Lowrie contributed to this report.)


  1. Bob

    This is truly a wonderful article, thank you. As a life-long fan of the group, it’s nice to know that my own characterization of the group in my mind (i.e., gentlemanly, talented, classy, and fun) is confirmed by someone who actually knew them personally. If the Rock Hall had any credibility at all, the group should have been inducted years ago when all were still young, healthy, and able to perform. What a show that would have been!

  2. Kevin Kennedy

    It seems as though this so called “Rock and Roll hall of fame” is run by a mob of morons. Why does it take so long for the “Powers that be” to make a decision? Either an artist(s) is eligible or is not! Groups like The Dave Clark 5, Hollies, Hermans hermits (Early mid 60s) paved the way after the Beatles kicked in the door! Let’s face it, these groups had lots of great songs and deserve to be recognised. Why not have a “British Rock and Roll hall of Fame”? Who would you have as your first 5 groups or artists??? Mine? 1.Beatles 2.Rolling Stones 3. Moody Blues 4. The Who 5. Cat Stevens.

  3. bernadette parker


  4. Lin at Mihicami@aol.com

    I was just going through some old (very old) papers to pitch what I do not need. I ran across 4 “room-service” vouchers of a couple members of the DC5, dated 11/7 and 11/8, 1964. One was kind of funny as they ordered a quart of vodka on the evening of the 7th and 2 pots of coffee the morning after! They had preformed at a city near where I lived and stayed at the Inn of where I worked in the office, thus being able to get the vouchers, since I balanced out the books! I don’t know whether to throw them away, or whether they might be worth any kind of money. Does anyone know if these are worth anything?

  5. Brenda Tseunis

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head in your description of Dennis (alias: Denis) Payton. Knowing Den fairly well, he was exactly as you’ve described. Although he was indeed, somewhat shy and vulnerable most of the time, once you got him talking he could be quite the little chatterbox; in the most adorable way. And never; even during their days of fame, did he ever allow it to go to his head in any way. There will never be a better word to describe Den other than the word ‘adorable’. He was always kind and considerate. Even during a most valuable time towards the end of his life, he considered the well fair of others, even before his own. He is without a doubt, gone, but will never be forgotten. Thanks again for this lovely tribute to five of best gentlemen whom ever existed.

  6. Cathy McFadden DeStefano

    As early as five years old , I was delighted by the vivacious rock-n-roll of the Dave Clark Five that unapologetically permeated from my teenage sister’s hi fi for many an hour. Like the Beatles, their music truly was a foot stompin’ joyful noise that helped so many of us get through dark times after the Kennedy assination. When I hear ‘Catch Us If You Can” and it propel me back to innocence and fun. I still swoon over Mike Smith’s vocals and sly grin. He was the epitome to “blue-eyed soul”. He and Dennis will be sadly missed by the millions of fans out there who remember and smile. God Bless them.

  7. Edmond Jenkins

    I was fortunate enough to see the DC5 in concert twice in Great Yarmouth. They were so dynamic. At the age of eighteen, and as a guitarist they were everything I aspired to. My girlfriend at the time loved the group more than the Beatles or the Stones. Mike Smith was dynamic on stage and his voice was amazing. It was only necessary to hear them performing such numbers as ‘Do You Love Me’ and ‘Money’ to realise that as a live band they were unbeatable. I remember also passing Dave’s beautiful house in Southgate, London, aptly named ‘The Drum’. Good Luck and Thank-you to all those surviving members of the band. Thanks for the music and the memories. A much underestimated group of musicians. Thanks from an old 63 year old child of the sixties. Eddie Jenkins.

  8. Judy Johnson

    “Because” is my all time favorite song in the whole world – I even chose it as my wedding song. Whoever wrote that song along with the melody is a true romantic.

  9. Adrian Nicholl

    A wonderful,moving and poignant article about one ofof the truly great musical groups of all time.It’s a scandal that the DC5 waited so long for induction into the Hall Of Fame.
    A friend has just brought me a new compilation Cd
    of the DC5 from England;it is brilliant.
    May Denis and Mike rest in peace.
    Nola,your article is a magnificent tribute.

  10. Lenny Kirschner

    I’ll never forget how happy I was when I sat down in front of my brand new Rogers Dave Clark Londoneer drum set. The Beatles were a hard act to follow on the Ed Sullivan Show but the DC5 did it with the ultimate class.

  11. keith maskell

    I lived in Tottenham only a 15mt walk from The Royle Mecca Ballroom where The Dave Clark first came to fame,we saw them a couple of times a week always a top performance from the Band they were resident there for some time even though they had some big hits,great times so sad to hear about Dennis and Mike they were a great band to see and hear,a lot of time has passed but fond memories of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE. Keefe

  12. Carlos

    Great article, about one of the truly great, original bands of the “British Invasion”. Largelly and unfairly overlooked for years, they finally got their due in the induction to the RR hall of fame.
    The sound of the Dave Clark Five was raucus, original and the voice of Mike Smith, what a voice. He was truly among the top 3 vocalists of the era. A terrific key boardist I had the privilege of experiencing Mike Smith in 2003 with his terrific band MSRE at BB Kings in NYC..what a show, what a voice, what a talent…..

  13. Patrick

    I was an on air personality at KALO in Little Rock, Arkansas and remember when the DC5 were at the top of their class. I started there in 1965 fresh out of school and the DC5 were, in my estimation, the best group of those days, bar none.

    Glad All Over, Catch Us If You Can and all the others will live forever.

    Thanks Guys for a great time.

  14. Ladd

    Hi Nola,
    That was one of the best tributes I ever heard. I was very touched by Tom Hanks comments about the “Five.” The DC-5 were great to grow up with. They never embarrassed me with some scandal on the tabloids. I was proud to tell mom and dad they were my favorites. When I was in school I would save my lunch money so I could buy their LPs! When I passed the record store, and saw their latest album, starving was well worth it! In high school I too wore a pair of boots with the cuban heels. Now my teenage kids play their music on guitars and piano.
    Thanks again, Ladd

  15. Brenda Tseunis

    There will never be a better man than Dennis Payton.

  16. Frank Cerullo

    You know, their music still holds up very well when heard today. I was lucky enough to see them in concert once and believe me, they were tremendous. Their harmonies were unbelievable and the music was tight. I really think Dennis Payton was the difference. When you listen to “Anyway You Want It” the sax hits you like a ton of bricks. Absolute rock and roll magic. They should have been inducted into the rock hall of fame years ago. Dennis and Mike may have been able to be there if that happened. What a great rock and roll band!

  17. Deborah Ripoli

    As a teen, The Dave Clark Five was my favorite! I would jack up the radio and listen to my favorite songs. I am sad to hear they have lost two of the guys. I was in love with Dennis and would day dream of falling in love with him. I am so happy to see them in the Hall of Fame. Sad and happy.

  18. Christine

    My first love was Denis Payton. I was wild about all of the DC5 — but I loved Denis. I was a young girl at the time but those feelings never really change. I remember spending hours on the phone calling our local radio station over and over requesting DC5 songs so they would always be at the top of the radio’s play lists. I was president of their local fan club and was stopped by the police twice for DC5 related events. Once for trying to go onstage during one of their concerts and once for roaming the halls of a hotel where they were staying so my friends and I could deliver a birthday cake to Mike. …big adventures for a fairly studious girl who ended up as a lawyer and author!

  19. Lorraine

    It’s so good to know so many folk appreciated the DC5. I’ve always felt myself a bit of a loner in my admiration for them. All of my friends were Beatle freaks! I was utterly obsessed with Mike Smith, I was a member of the fan club and used to pen terrible poetry and dedicate it to Mike. The highlight of my adolescence was winning one of Mike’s sweaters which I treasured more than anything. I am so sad that Mike died before the Hall of Fame induction.

  20. Caroline

    I am a 54 year old woman now. In the 1960s, during ‘the British Invasion’ I was much too young to appreciate really good music. Like many other people I was a fan of the Beatles, as I remain today. However, it was only in 1993, when the DC5 had a anniversary special on t.v., that I truly realized just how wonderful and talented they are (were). They are still a very important part of my life and I have introduced their music to my daughter, therefore insuring that their music will live on for future generations!!! God Bless you DC5!!!

  21. Vickie

    The DC 5 still bring me much joy today and overwhelming memories from the Sixties. I met them twice – once when they played in Atlanta and then Dave alone when I traveled to London. They were, indeed, gentlemen; I remember Denis giving me a kiss on the cheek when I met all of them in Atlanta. He and Mike, especially, were extremely polite and answered all of my questions.

    My love to Dave, Lenny and Rick as they continue on with their current careers, and my love to Denny and Mike in the world beyond. I miss you both very much.

  22. Peter Weinstein

    My favorite British group has always been the Dave Clark Five. In addition to being clean-cut, nattily attired, and good looking, they played some really thumping tunes. I certainly agree with the earlier posts: The DC 5 should have been inducted into the HOF much sooner.

    But we were fortunate to have this magnificent group to enjoy.

    Thanks for the sounds and the memories.

  23. Ron Ryan

    My name is Ron Ryan, I was the ‘ghost writer’ for the Dave Clark Five, and although Clark has his name on all my songs he did not write one word of lyric, or one note of music to any of them. Some of the songs I wrote were as follows, ‘Mulberry Bush’, ‘Do Dah’, ‘That’s what I said’,’ Can I trust you’,’All of the time’, ‘No time to lose’, ‘Sometimes’, (my Wife’s favourite song of mine), ‘Bit’s and pieces’, ‘Because’, ‘Anyway you want it’, ‘Thinking of you Baby’ (Mike Smith wrote a few extra lines in that song as I had parted company with Dave Clark by then. By the way, if you want to hear where the ‘Dave Clark Sound’, or what is sometimes called (wrongly) the ‘Tottenham sound’, go to youtube, and type in Doug Sheldon’s record called ‘Your Ma’ said you cried in your sleep last night’, that’s where it all came from, Ron Ryan.

  24. Jerilynn royland

    we will surely miss your music. My favorite song was and still is bernadette . Bless you all in ths time

  25. Dave Pajak

    Nola and Katharine: Thank you for this poignant update. I’ve always been disappointed that I’m unable to locate any live videos or feeds of the DC5, just TV mime appearances. Am I missing something, is there nothing, or is something eventually going to be released? Thanks in advance.
    – Dave Pajak

  26. Marty

    I am happy to see more things on the DC5. Unfortunely they didn’t get much recognition. I actually heard of them before the Beatles. The Beatles were credited wth the hair style, suits, and harmonized music, but its was the DC5 who had these styles first. The beatles were still wearing the pompador Elvis hair style in England, when the DC5 came to the US. they should have been in the RR hall fame long ago. Its a disgrace. For the record Brian Epstien was the beatles manager, but before the beatles he was with the DC5.

  27. Carol DiNatale

    Had the honor of seeing the DC5 years ago on LI in NY. Dragged my mother with me since I was told I was too young to go alone. Mom rocked out too. Joined their fan club shortly thereafter. Still love their music to this day and was sad when they decided to break up. They were a good decent bunch of guys who played great music. However, America seemed to gravitate toward the bad boys like The Stones. While I enjoyed all the bands back then, the DC5 will always hold a special place in my heart. Was so sorry when we lost Denis, then Mike. It was like losing a close friend. This article was very well written. I missed the Hall of Fame show for some reason, and was bummed about it. Glad Mike knew before he left us that his talent was being honored. Thanks for the memories, guys.

  28. Tony Small

    They should be proud of all the pleasure they to so many of us in the sixties.
    Their music still sounds good.
    Dennis & Mike live on.
    Many of us say thanks to the DC5

  29. Shari Lawrence

    What can we do to convince Dave to allow the release of the DVD of Mike’s NYC Tribute? It was an amazing concert — more than a concert, it was a true, once-in-a-lifetime event. My sister, a Mike lover from the start, and I sat at the stage right under Paul Shaffer’s keyboard — first show. (So glad the Zombies could join us! Don’t you just hate when those airplanes skid off the runway?)
    We all loved being able to give back to Mike…he gave all of us such wonderful memories.
    PLEASE Dave…let us enjoy those moments again and allow those who couldn’t be there to experience the spirit, love and connection we all felt that night.
    It’s time.
    Thanks from

  30. Shari Lawrence

    What can we do to convince Dave to allow the release of the DVD of Mike’s NYC Tribute? It was an amazing concert — more than a concert, it was a true, once-in-a-lifetime event. My sister, a Mike lover from the start, and I sat at the stage right under Paul Shaffer’s keyboard — first show. (So glad the Zombies could join us! Don’t you just hate when those airplanes skid off the runway?)
    We all loved being able to give back to Mike…he gave all of us such wonderful memories.
    PLEASE Dave…let us enjoy those moments again and allow those who couldn’t be there to experience the spirit, love and connection we all felt that night.
    It’s time.
    Thanks from DC5 fans everywhere!

  31. Bob Tillson

    If you watch Ford’s Dagenham Dream on BBC 4 on Monday 8th October you will see Dave Clark modelling in one of the adverts they use. I knew Dave at the time, and I’m pretty sure it’s him!

  32. karen wotton

    Why is it when there is a beautiful tribute to the dc5, Ron Ryan or other people always find them so they can write bad things about Dave? No matter where i read a story they always pop up in the comments. None of the other guys ever said anything bad, only Lenny left so i guess its up to him. I think Dave is an amazing man who should be proud of all he has accomplished in his life, and they were all still friendly. It’s sad to think my favorite group of almost 50 yrs has only 2 members left, but I know Rick, Denny and Mike are wailing away in heaven. I can’t watch [but] … someday I will be thanking you dc5 for the great music that’s been a part of my life

  33. Glenn HENDRIKSEN

    DC 5 “beat” the BEATLES in the 60s in my estimation during the BRIT INVASION!!!….signed…a YANK

  34. Teri McCarthy

    Back in the 60’s I too felt the very same way for the very same reasons. That being our young dynamic President being slain. However 3 or so months later the Dave Clark 5 came to this country for a bit of a tour and played Arie Crown Theater where me and around 4-5 thousand screaming girls and perhaps a handful of boys were in the audience 2 years in a ro.w. Those were wonderful days.

  35. lisa

    I agree with the comment about Ron Ryan, so what!, Who cares! Maybe he should have recorded his own songs! Dave was a go getter, he had the ambition, he took the risks, he got the jobs, put down the money so they could all enjoy the great ride they had!, If they didn’t make it, he would have been the only loser as he was paying them and making all the deals (which they would’ve had to share with any manager)..Dave may be shrewd, but he wasn’t horrible on the drums as the haters say, he played on many recordings, according to Mike Smith, and all their live concerts, which were great! Maybe Ron should have paid more attention to Dave and learned the art of the deal. (which apparently was settled out of court)so get over it!

  36. Susi

    I agree with Lisa and Karen – Sour Grapes to Ron Ryan…Why on earth would you allow anyone to put his name on YOUR songs. If you did YOU are the one that blew it, don’t belittle DC for his business acumen. I love all the DC5 songs, whomever wrote them…DC5 played them and they stole America’s heart and have passed the test of time.

    Please DAVE CLARK – we still love you – please release your catalog so we can enjoy the music again before we ALL join Mike, Denis and Rick in heaven!!!

  37. Nola Leone

    As co-author (with Katharine Lowrie) of this original article and a long-time associate and friend of all the Dave Clark Five band members, I would like to address some comments that have been posted here. Firstly, Dave Clark has always recognized Mike Smith’s tremendous talent and has both publicly and privately praised Mike Smith as ‘the best voice in rock and roll’, as evidenced in the recent DC5 documentary, which Dave himself put together and produced. Dave has also repeatedly acknowledged that the success of the band was not due to him alone but to the combined talents of Mike, Denis, Rick and Lenny as well. The Dave Clark Five recordings have actually been available throughout the decades, albeit not always as accessible as other artists’ music; and on iTunes since 2008. As I lamented in the original blog, it took the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame almost 20 years to honor The Dave Clark Five; an oversight I will never forgive, primarily because just three years earlier all five of the guys could have attended! It is the true and loyal fans who continue to keep the memory and the music of the DC5 alive! As to those who make claims about writing songs – or whatever other credit they seek regarding someone else’s accomplishments, I say: “May your talent shine through and bring you success without the need to demean others”. Sincerely, Nola

  38. Rebecca

    I’d like to say that I was a little girl when the 60s music was happening. My first memory is of the Kennedy assasination at age 5. I can remember these classy and handsome fellows cranking out a sound that made all us youngsters feel the beat and move our feet, hips, arms and heads. I am so sad to just recently learn of the untimely death of my favorite singer Mike Smith from way back when I learned to feel the spirit of great artists perform live. I love the DC5’s sound more today than I did then. I believe I’m stuck in the past, at least with my taste in music. “If there’s a rock and roll heaven, then there must be a hellova band” and I look forward to singing with them some day.
    The article by these two women was very well-written because it did capture our heroes charm completely.

  39. Paul Smith

    Had the honour of Lenny Davidson teaching me to play guitar at Huntingdon college. He taught me for about 2 years it was great; even had a couple of private lesson in his home.

    Thank you Lenny and I still play.

  40. Barbara norton

    Dave and the boys used to play at socials along with us, The Mike Jones Combo or The Statesmen. I soloed. For Mike, I have many good memories of singing with our group, remember one particular booking at an American air base when we loaded all our equipment in and on Dave’s car and all got in. And a foot of snow fell. I never got to perform at a base, as l met my husband that year. My last gig was at Shoreditch Town hall, where we had to play the twist forever. Am 81 now but have some wonderful memories. Real name Barbara Biles. Nee Norton

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