The Clay Cole Show

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The Clay Cole Show
Isley Brothers 1.Jpg
Cole (left) with The Isley Brothers in 1962
Also known as 'Rate the Records
Talent Teens
Teen Quiz
The Record Wagon[1]
Clay Cole's Discotek[2]
Original network WNTA-TV
Original release 1959 – 1968

The Clay Cole Show (1959–1968) was a rock music television show based in New York City, hosted by Clay Cole.

First broadcast on WNTA-TV (now WNET) in September 1959 as Rate the Records, within two months the format was changed, and an hour-long Saturday-night show was added. In the summer months, the show was expanded to an hour, six nights a week, live from New Jersey's Palisades Amusement Park, where Chubby Checker first performed and danced "The Twist".[1][3] When WNTA-TV was sold in 1963 the show moved to WPIX-TV, where for five years it was successful, thanks to first-time guest appearances of The Rolling Stones (on a program with one other guest act--The Beatles), Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick, Simon & Garfunkel, Richie Havens, Tony Orlando, Blood, Sweat & Tears and The Rascals.[1][2] In 1965 the show was renamed Clay Cole's Discotek.[2] Clay produced a full hour with just one guest, Tony Bennett. Clay's all-star, ten-day Christmas Show at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater holds the all-time box-office record for that theater.[4][5]

Cole was the first to introduce stand-up comics such as Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Fannie Flagg to a teen audience.[1][3] He was the first to produce a full hour of all-black performers, his historic Salute to Motown[1][3] Unlike other teen music show hosts, Cole danced to the music he played on his shows; he was also unafraid to book lesser-known performers.[1][3][6]

In 1968, at the height of his show's popularity, Cole--unhappy with the shift in pop music to psychedelic acid rock and heavy metal--left the show.[1][3]

His memoir of the early years of rock and roll and live television, Sh-Boom! The Explosion of Rock 'n' Roll (1953-1968) has been published by Morgan James.[7][8] Cole died on December 18, 2010.[1][2][3][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Grimes, William (24 December 2010). "Clay Cole, Host of Teenage Dance Shows, dies at 72". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Grimes, William (26 December 2010). "Clay Cole; hosted teen show that drew rising musical stars". Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hinckley, David (21 December 2010). "Clay Cole, legendary 1960s rock 'n' roll teen guru who introduced Rolling Stones, dies at almost 73". New York Daily News. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Clay Cole and the Paramount Theater". Brooklyn Music. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Brooklyn Paramount". New York Theater Organ Society. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  6. ^ Weintraub, Bernard (16 February 2003). "Pioneer of a Beat Is Still Riffing for His Due". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Hinckley, David (3 December 2009). "City traffic reports are cutting through the gridlock". New York Daily News. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Cole, Clay; Hinckley, David, eds. (2009). Sh-Boom!:The Explosion of Rock 'n' Roll (1953-1968). Morgan James. p. 318. ISBN 1-60037-639-8. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  9. ^ - accessed December 2010

External links[edit]