"The man (Dick Clark) was big. He was the biggest thing at the time in America at that time. He was bigger than the President!" ....... Hank Ballard, The Midnighters
In the summer of 1957, Artie Singer was working with a new vocal group for his independent label, Singular Records. The Juvenairs were four boys who had been singing at clubs and dances in the Philadelphia area. The popularity of American Bandstand was making Philadelphia a hot spot for rock and roll. At the end of the summer, Bandstand would become a syndicated national show for ABC and by the end of the year, Dick Clark was a major influence in popular music, often showcasing talent from Philadelphia. On February 15, Clark went prime time with “The Dick Clark Show,” airing on Saturday nights. Singer sought to capitalize on the popularity of Bandstand by teaming up with John Medora and Dave White (a member of the Juvenairs) to write a song based on the latest Bandstand dance step, “The Bop.” He took a demo of “Do the Bop” to Dick Clark. Clark liked the song, but advised Singer that “the Bop” was “on it’s way out” and that by the time the record was released, it would be too late. He suggested rewriting the lyrics and offered “At the Hop” as an alternative. By this time Singer had renamed his group, “Danny and the Juniors.” They recorded “At the Hop.” On December 2, 1957, Dick Clark called, needing a last minute replacement on Bandstand. The group lip-synched “At the Hop” and the switchboards lit up. Paramount Records took notice, bought the master and released it. It entered the Billboard charts in December. On January 6th, it became the first number one song of 1958, and lives on today as one of the most recognizable songs of the era, evoking images of crepe paper streaming from basketball goals, spotlighted shiny maple floors, twirling skirts and bobby sox. But America had still not become comfortable with rock and roll in 1958. In fact, anti-rock and roll sentiment was being expressed more strongly than ever before. San Antonio banned juke boxes near public swimming pools because of the “practicing of their spasmodic gyrations in abbreviated swim suits.” In Nashville, a disc jockey burned 600 Elvis records in the city park. Many radio programmers banned the music from their play lists. But rock and roll music thrived in spite of (and in a small way because of) the protests. Danny and the Juniors would have limited success after “At the Hop,” But their second top-forty release did reach #19 and would prove prophetic. In March of 1958 they proclaimed, “no matter what the people say, rock and roll is here to stay.”
Dick Clark's weekly ranking of records on Bandstand had a big influence on record sales. Clark's top ten was a regular feature -- the list was often quite different from the Billboard rankings. The chart behind Clark in this picture shows songs from early 1958 -- best guess for #1? -- "At The Hop."

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Danny & The Juniors performing live in 1958 -- this stage performance doesn't exactly reveal a high powered stage act. In fact, the dance moves are a little stilted -- Danny Rapp is not exactly Jackie Wilson. But the shots of the teen dancers are a pretty good representation of what a "hop" might look like.
"At The Hop" was the first #1 record of 1958. Sha Na Na, a group that sang classic 50's rock and roll, performed the song at Woodstock in 1969.
A youthful Dick Clark parlayed a local television show into a national hit-making powerhouse.
Clark would watch the kids dance and often made suggestions to record producers -- "At the Hop" was one such success story