Along with the Ball Drop, the broadcast of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is the second great longstanding tradition of New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square.
Created in 1972 by Clark—nicknamed “the world’s oldest teenager,” for his perennially youthful looks—the show was hosted the first two years by the band Three Dog Night and the comedian George Carlin, respectively, with Dick assuming the role of Times Square reporter. Clark took over hosting for the 1974-75 show, and continued as host for more than 30 years until he had a stroke in December of 2004. Ryan Seacrest came in as lead host in 2005, but Clark continued to co-host until his death in 2012, at age 82.
Clark’s influence on U.S. popular music, as host of the show American Bandstand, was extraordinary. More than two thirds of the acts in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame had their debut on Clark’s show.
The popularity of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, commanding audiences of more then 20 million people viewing the show at home and countless others watching in public locations, shows no sign of abating. Counting down to midnight remains the culmination of the broadcast, but for the very first show, Clark said “It is now 1973, as of now.”