Clark was born February 9th, 1943 in Topeka, Kansas. He is
the youngest of thirteen children born to Frank and Lena
Lungstrum. He attended Sumner Elementary School in Topeka
and at the age of seven, Alan, along with his family, moved
to Southern California in the early 1950's. The family
eventually ended up in San Bernardino, which is about 60
miles east of Los Angeles.
Alan grew up listening to all kinds of music. As a child, he
would be running around the house playing, as his older
teen-age brothers, Gale and Jerry would be playing all of
their new 45 singles. They liked everything from Big Band,
Country and Western to the current rage, Rock and Roll. It
was this rock and roll music that would end up being Alan's
favorite for the rest of his life.
Clark attended many different schools in San Bernardino. The
family didn't stay in one place too long. At thirteen, he
spent three years at Sturges Junior High School. He
graduated and attended Pacific High School until he quit
half way through the eleventh grade.
One of Alan's first musical influences was of course, Elvis
Presley. He wanted to be just like the king of rock and
roll. He would go to parties and lip-sync to "Jailhouse
Rock" and other rock songs at the time as they were being
played on the old record players.
Soon he discovered Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps and
eventually his idol to be--Eddie Cochran. Alan was hooked on
the rock-a-billy beat and he couldn't shake it.
As a teenager, he liked most of the songs that were being
played over the radio. His mom bought him his very first 45
single, "At The Hop" by Danny and the Juniors. He also
became a big fan of Buddy Holly and the Crickets and the
killer, Jerry Lee Lewis.
In 1957, Alan bought his very first single by Eddie Cochran,
"Sittin' In The Balcony" at Lier's Record Shop in San
Bernardino. He would soon see his idol on the big screen at
the West Coast Theater in the motion picture, "The Girl
Can't Help It." He was knocked out by Eddie's performance of
"Twenty Flight Rock." That was it. That was what he wanted
to do. He wanted to be a rock and roll singer.
All through 1957 and 1958, Alan kept up with all of the new
rock and roll singles being played on the radio. Of course,
every weekday he would tune into American Bandstand to see
some of his favorite artists lip-syncing their hit records
on national TV.
Alan had a brother who was a disc jockey for many years. He
went by the name, Frank Allen and worked at many radio
stations including KECK in Odessa, Texas as the chief
announcer for the "Make Believe Ballroom" and stations WOW,
KOWH and KOIL out of Omaha, Nebraska and others. He was
known as Frank "Coffeehead" Allen. In the 1950's he met many
of the artists of the day including Buddy Holly.
In July of 1959, Alan had a chance to see Eddie Cochran in
person, but it was not meant to be. At the time, he was on a
summer vacation visiting his brothers and sisters in Topeka,
Kansas. Cochran was appearing at the Jayhawk Theater where
his new movie, "Go Johnny Go" was playing. Clark was walking
past the theater when he noticed the poster advertising that
Eddie would be there in person the very next day. But, for
some reason, he didn't make it to the show to see and maybe
get to meet his idol, Eddie Cochran. He regrets it to this
After quitting high school, Alan went to work for Acme Color
Print, where they printed the Sunday comics for many
different newspapers. He worked there for a few years, but
it was not taking him where he wanted to go. It was music
that Alan wanted to do. One night, he took his guitar and
amp with him to work. He was working the night shift. On a
break, Alan took his guitar into the shower room. The room
was big and had a great echo in it. He started singing some
of his favorite songs. In walked the night foreman. At
first, Alan was worried at what he might say. The foreman
looked at him and said, "Why are you working here when you
could be out playing music?" He told Alan that he thought he
was real good and could make it. A short time later, Alan
For some strange reason, he ended up playing drums. The very
first gig was at a junior high school assembly. He was
terrified. Alan wasn't the greatest drummer and he was first
to admit it.
Alan joined up with fellow schoolmate, Steve Moore, who
played the piano and idolized Jerry Lee Lewis.
In June of 1961, Alan, along with Steve and his sister
Linda, drove to the Hollywood Bowl to see a Alan Freed
package show. Jerry Lee was performing on the show along
with Brenda Lee, the Fleetwoods and many others. Before the
show, Alan and Steve did get to meet the killer and shake
hands and get a picture taken with him. They were shaking in
their boots. Here they were face to face with one of their
idols. It was Jerry Lee that stole the show. He performed
his newest Sun single that night, "It Won't Happen With Me."
After seeing this show, it made Alan want to be a singer all
On August 22nd, 1962, Alan, along with Steve, had their very
first recording session. It took place at Locy Sound Studios
in Arlington, California. With Steve on piano and Alan on
drums, they recorded six tracks that day including "Rocky
Road Blues" and "Skinny Jim."
Two other sessions followed with Alan playing drums on
September 12th, 1962 and in June of 1963.
On November 30th, 1963, Alan did this session as a
guitarist. Along with Steve Moore and Tom Whitehill on
drums, they recorded a few tracks including two original
Clark songs, "Hollywood City" and "Bye Bye Loneliness."
The very first night club in which Alan played was called
Buzzie's in Upland, California. He appeared there with
childhood friend and bassman, Pat Woertink and Terry McGreal
on drums. They were an instant hit with the dancing crowd
and appeared there for quite some time. Music had changed,
but they kept playing the rock and roll and rock-a-billy
tunes of the fifties.
Shortly after, Alan appeared at a club in Pomona, California
called the Red Flame. Different recording artists would drop
by from time to time including Sanford Clark, who had the
million seller, "The Fool" in 1956. Frank Zappa would come
in and listen to the group, along with Henry Vestine, lead
guitar player of Canned Heat. Another visitor was Pete
Fullerton of the group, We Five. All of these artists were
either into modern blues or folk music, but they really
enjoyed listening to Alan's band playing the tunes from the
In January of 1964, three more original songs were recorded
at Locy Studio, "I'm A Lovin' Man," "I'm Blue" and
"Summertime Is Here," in which Alan wrote with Eddie
Cochran's style in mind.
On February 1st, 1964, Alan again made his way to Locy
Studios. This time, he recorded with still another group
known as Alan Clark and the Del-sonics. Six tracks were
recorded that day including two Clark originals, "What's
Goin' On" and "Come On," Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie" and
three surf tracks, "Church Key," "Ramrod" and "Wipeout."
Even in the surf music era, Alan was still recording songs
from the 1950's.
In the summer of 1964, an album was released on the
Lungstrum label. It was sold locally at dances and parties,
which Alan played very frequently.
On November 3rd, 1964, Alan, along with Eddie Ayon on lead
guitar, Bob Rose on bass and Dan Borchman on drums, recorded
four tracks at Locy. Two of the tracks became Alan's very
first single on the Clark label, "Long Tall Sally" and
"Teresa," by Alan Clark and the Libertys. Of course, the
Libertys name came from Cochran's record label, Liberty.
In late 1964, Alan, along with his group the Jade Stones,
performed at a battle of the bands contest for the first
time at the Palms Teen Club in Ontario, California. At the
time, they were a five-piece group. All of the best bands in
the area participated in the event. They didn't come in
first, but they were very well received.
On January 9th, 1965, Clark went into the studio with the
Jade Stones. The lineup of this group consisted of child-
hood friend, Pat Woertink on bass, Mike Butler on guitar and
Terry McGreal on drums. This group appeared at the Shamrock
Roller Rink in San Gabriel outside of Los Angeles with the
Standells. They were popular at the time, but the Jade
Stones proved to be the more popular of the two with the
dancing crowd. This group also won first place in another
battle of the bands contest in Ontario, California. They
played this gig as a trio, competing against groups who had
six or seven members. There were nearly twenty bands. Most
of them played what was popular at the time, but the Jade
Stones played the rock and roll of the 1950's and came out
With a new name, Alan Clark and the Counts, the group
entered the studio on May 13th, 1965. They recorded sixteen
tracks that day with Lenny Angelo on guitar, Raleigh White
on organ and Terry McGreal on drums. Later that year, Alan
and the Counts appeared at the grand opening of the Ontario
Music store. They played on the same stage with the Phil
Baugh Trio, the Esquires, the Classics and surf legend,
In mid 1965, Alan Clark and the Counts appeared on a local
TV show on channel 18 out of San Bernardino. Clark remembers
going into the TV studio and seeing a mostly all black
audience and being kind of nervous about it. He wasn't sure
if the crowd would like his kind of music. He remembers
opening up with Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie." That broke
the ice and the crowd accepted them. They performed two
other tunes including a slow number called "Lonely Nights"
and an original Clark song, "Hollywood City." Family and
friends watched their television sets that day and many of
them thought Alan looked like a young Johnny Cash because he
was dressed all in black. That was the style he liked and
still does today.
On September 15th, 1965, Alan recorded at Locy Sound Studios
for the last time. Another original tune was recorded that
day, "Don't You Run Around," which was co-written with Pat
In November of 1965, Alan's newest group, the Go-rillas,
performed at the Hob Nob nightclub in Azusa, California.
They played there for almost six months to capacity crowds.
The group recorded an album on the B-F-D label entitled "The
Fabulous Go-rillas"-WLS 1105. The LP was mainly sold in the
nightclub. This album is one of the rarest of all the
records Alan recorded over the years.
In December of 1965, Clark, along with Pat Woertink, Gary
Dobkins on drums and Jay Anderson on guitar, recorded a
session at Pacific Challenger Studios in Hacienda Heights,
Alan appeared with many different groups through the years.
In 1967, he worked with the Hollywood Vines. They did a tour
of the Midwest. He joined a group called the Rondells who
later changed their name to Alan Clark and Co. This was a
very popular group in the southern California music scene.
They also did a tour of the mid-west and a six-week gig in
In the latter part of 1968, Alan, along with friend Pat
Woertink, joined up with John Dalbeck and Pete Stevens and
became the Rock Shop. This was one of the most popular
groups in the area at the time. They auditioned at a
nightclub in West Covina called Mr. Lee's Swingin' Affair.
They got the gig in September and the club became very
popular in the local area. They played for packed houses
every night they performed. They also worked some off nights
at the Pier 7 club in Van Nuys and the Play Girl club in
Around the first of the year, in 1969, Mr. Lee's closed down
because of a fire. The group traveled to Santa Cruz and
appeared at the Surf Bowl Lounge in February of that year.
They eventually returned to Mr. Lee's which had been
remodeled in May. The group recorded their one and only
album together at Record Masters in Hollywood, the Rock Shop
on the Lee-Mo label. The LP featured all original songs. It
was released in a very limited number and mostly sold in the
club. Today, this LP is considered a collector's item and is
valued at over two hundred dollars. It has since been
released on CD and LP on the Bacchus Archives label.
On May 14th, the Rock Shop backed up the Shirelles. They
shared the stage with the Drifters on May 28th and backed up
the Rivingtons on June 23rd. On June 25th, the group had the
pleasure backing up Big Joe Turner. When he came backstage
at Mr. Lee's, he told the band to just stay in the key of E.
The guys assured him that they did indeed know his songs. It
was a great night of rock and blues.
In late 1969, the Rock Shop decided to call it quits. Clark
had been offered a job with another popular group called the
Insex. This group stayed together for five years. They
appeared at nearly every top nightclub in the area. In this
group was guitar legend, Johnny Diamond, whose real name was
Wayne Charvel. Wayne, along with Pat Woertink, went on to
create the Charvel Guitar Company.
In 1973, an EP was released on the Clark label entitled Alan
Clark-"Hits of the Fifties." It consisted of four songs
including "Skinny Jim," "I Ain't Givin' Up Nothin'," "High
School Confidential" and an original song by Alan called
"Bye Bye Loneliness." It came with a picture sleeve
featuring Alan with his seventies longer hair look and
mustache. Here it was in the 1970's and Alan was still into
the 1950's music.
A recording session took place on January 18th, 1974 at the
Sound Sync Studios in Riverside, California. Alan shared the
session with Steve Moore. Clark cut two tracks that day
including "Just A Little Bit" and "Ain't That Lovin' You
Baby." A single was issued on the Clark label, later that
In 1974, Alan published his first book on Buddy Holly.
Others followed including books on Eddie Cochran, Gene
Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis. Eventually, he would do a
series of books called "Rock and Roll Legends."
In 1975, a single was issued on the Clark label-CLA-003
entitled "Rock and Roll" backed with "What A Heck of a
Mess." The record was a subsidiary of Pyramid Records, Ltd.
This single, like all of the rest, didn't make it to the
Alan worked with other groups through the 1970's including
Wildfire and Squeeze Play. In some of the groups he was
forced to play some of the current hits, but, he also
managed to include songs by Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Gene
Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and other 1950's classics.
In 1981, Alan had the pleasure to meet Glen Glenn who lived
only a few miles away from him. He discovered that Glen used
the same bass player on his records that Eddie Cochran did,
the great Connie "Guybo' Smith. He also discovered that Glen
had met Elvis many times and worked with numerous legends
over the years including Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and
Ritchie Valens, to name just a few. Since then, they have
become very good friends and work together on many shows.
In the early 1980's, an LP was released on the Leap Frog
label-LFR-1002 entitled "She Just Tears Me Up." The album
featured Glen Glenn, Connie "Guybo' Smith, Dave Wendels,
Steve Moore, Danny Lopez, Bob Denton, Bobby Cochran, Scotty
Moore and D.J. Fontana. Another LP followed on the Leap Frog
Label entitled Alan Clark and his Rock-A-Billy Band. The
album included five original Clark songs. Appearing on the
album were Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Glen Glenn, Eddie
Cochran's bass player, Connie 'Guybo' Smith and sax player
Mike Henderson from the Kelly Four, Steve Moore, Billy Webb,
Dave Wendels, Bob Moore and Paul Ryan. It was recorded at
the Garage Studio in West Covina and engineered by Pat
Woertink, who owned the studio. A single was also released
on the Leap Frog label-1001 called "Twenty Flight Rock" and
In 1985, Alan had the great honor to meet another one of his
idols, the great Roy Orbison. He was appearing at the The
Hop in Lakewood, California. After the show, Roy was being
rushed out the back door into a waiting limousine. By
chance, Alan reached Roy just as he was almost ready to
leave. Roy signed a photo for him. The real treat for Alan
was getting his picture taken with the big O. Alan had seen
Orbison way back in 1965 in San Bernardino at the Municipal
Auditorium. He also remembers Bobby Goldsboro playing guitar
with Orbison's band. Clark did not get to meet Roy at this
time. Twenty years later he got the chance.
One of Alan's favorite people in the music world had to be
Carl Perkins. He met Carl on September 5, 1986 at the
Lubbock Music Festival. Also on the bill were Bo Diddley,
Ace Cannon, Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Buddy Knox, Sonny Curtis
and Buddy Holly's Crickets. It took place at the Lubbock
Civic Center Exhibition Hall. Before the show, Alan met Carl
and had him sign a copy of his "Blue Suede Shoes" sheet
music. Clark brought along two copies of it and told Carl,
"If you sign this one for me, I will give you this one," as
Alan pulled it from behind his back. This brought a big
smile to Carl's face and he proceeded to grab Alan and give
him a big hug. Carl told him he once had a copy of it, but
it disappeared somewhere down the line. He really was happy
to get another copy of it. Clark never forgot this.
According to Alan, "Carl Perkins was a very sweet, humble
man." He saw Carl many times after this meeting. One thing
Alan remembers most is that Carl was always glad to see him
and he always remembered him by name.
On November 25th, 1986, Alan, along with the group City
Limits, appeared with Terry Stafford on the national TV
show, "Solid Gold." The group consisted of Alan on bass,
Johnny Fortune on guitar, Steve Moore on piano and Danny
Lopez on drums. There were also two female back-up singers.
Stafford lip-synced to his hit, "Suspicion," while the group
pretended to be playing behind him. Alan remembers being
excited about being on the show. When the show aired, all
you could see of course was Stafford and the two female
singers. The band was in the background in the shadows. You
could hardly tell who they were. They were all kind of
disappointed about it. But, that's show business.
In early 1993, Alan joined the Eddie Cochran Band with
original Kelly Four members, Dave Shriver and Gene Riggio.
After a few rehearsals, which also included Dave Kadison and
Phil Bolt, they performed in Las Vegas. In June and July
they appeared at the Thunderbird Theater in Branson,
Missouri to great crowds. The gig lasted six weeks until
they found out they were being ripped off by their manager.
The theater wanted the group to stay, but the guys were all
fed up with the situation. The local newspaper was going to
run stories about the group to build up the business. One of
the top radio stations in Springfield was all set to have a
grand opening and feature radio spots advertising the group.
But, the group had had enough and went their separate ways.
One of Alan's musical highlights occurred on August 13th,
1996. He got to appear live on stage with Gene Vincent's
Blue Caps and Buddy Knox. The show took place at the Derby
in Hollywood. This was the first stop on a small tour of
California to promote the new CD-"Turning The World Blue-
Tribute to Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps." This CD featured
Alan with the Kelly Four on "Say Mama." According to Clark,
"The Blue Caps put on one of the greatest live shows he had
ever seen. They just tore the place up. They didn't hold
anything back. They were wild." The Caps called Alan to the
stage and backed him up on "Rocky Road Blues" and "Twenty
Flight Rock." Clark was in Rock & Roll Heaven. Here he was
on stage playing with the fabulous Blue Caps. He had been a
fan since the 1950's and now, here he was on stage with
them. For Alan, it was hard to believe it was really
happening. Buddy Knox was backed by the Sun Demons, a great
group from Southern California. They had Buddy's songs down
perfect. Before the tour started, they had rehearsals in
Fullerton. Knox was late getting there, so Alan stood in for
him so the band could run over his songs. That was also a
big treat for Clark, because he knew all of Buddy's songs.
Knox also put on a great show that night, as did Jerry Lee
Merritt. Jerry played lead guitar with Vincent back in the
late fifties. He also wrote "She She Little Sheila" which
was featured on Vincent's "Crazy Times" album. Alan had the
entire show taped that night.
On August 18th, the same show appeared at the Foothill Club
in Long Beach. Again, Alan had the pleasure to work with the
Blue Caps. Buddy Knox was feeling a little under the
weather, so he didn't make this show. Clark has worked with
the Blue Caps on several different occasions. Alan has said,
"Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps had to be one of the wildest
acts to come out of the rock and roll era. They were
In May of 1998, a CD was released on Clark Archive Records
entitled "Alan Clark-Memories of Eddie Cochran-featuring the
Kelly Four." It contains 24 tracks including nine studio
cuts with the Kelly Four and four live tracks recorded at
the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on October 3rd, 1992.
There are also nine original Clark songs. The Kelly Four of
course, were Eddie Cochran's original back-up band from mid
1958 until late 1959. The CD includes original members Dave
Shriver on bass, Gene Riggio on drums, Mike Henderson on sax
and Jimmy Stivers on piano. Also appearing is Eddie
Cochran's original acoustic bass player, Connie "Guybo'
Smith and also Bobby Cochran, Darrel Higham, Ray Campi,
Billy Webb, Johnny Fortune and others.
In April of 2000, another CD was released on Clark Archive
Records-"Alan Clark-Rockin' Thru the Years." This release
featured 32 cuts including eleven original Clark songs. It
starts with "Skinny Jim" from 1962 and ends up with "Endless
Sleep" in 1988 featuring Jody Reynolds on rhythm guitar. The
CD also features Scotty Moore and D.J Fontana on "Shake,
Rattle and Roll." Connie 'Guybo' Smith plays acoustic
stand-up bass on a original Clark song, "Juke Box Mama" and
the Sanford Clark tune, "The Fool."
In late January of 2002, Alan appeared on the Rock 'n' Roll
Dance Party tour. He played five different venues and ended
up at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on January 30th. He
had the pleasure to perform on the same bill as Tommy Allsup,
Carl Bunch, George Tomsco of the Fireballs, Peggy Sue Gerron,
Ritchie's cousin Ernie Valens, Gary and Ramona Tollett,
David Bigham of the Roses, Larry Welborn and the Classics
and the Shackshakers. Alan really enjoyed himself working
with all of these legends that either knew or worked with
the great Buddy Holly.
On Saturday, August 31st, 2002, Alan appeared at the Fair
Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The show was called Legends
of West Texas Rock & Roll. It was filmed for a DVD
documentary by Shawn Nagy, who also is the leader of the
Shackshakers band. Earlier in the week, Nagy interviewed the
artists in Lubbock and Clovis, New Mexico. The show was a
great success. On the bill were the Fireballs, Tommy Allsup,
Carl Bunch, Sonny West, the Picks, Hope Griffith, Jack Neal,
the Tolletts, Terry Noland, the Roses, Peggy Sue Gerron,
Charlie Phillips, Echo McGuire, Alan and the Shackshakers.
As Alan was leaving Lubbock the next day, he decided to
check the local newspaper to see if any one had reviewed the
show. To his surprise, as he opened up the paper, was this
large picture of him from the show the night before. It was
kind of funny to him. Why would they put his photo in the
paper when they had all of these other legends that had
known or worked with Buddy Holly.
Alan has worked with Steve Moore on and off for well over 30
some years. As of this writing, they are still working
together at the Rockin' Robin nightclub in Redlands,
California. They have performed there for over eight years
with bassman Tony Penn and drummer Frank Pipitone.
Alan Clark has recorded and worked with many of the legends
including Bobby Day, Thurston Harris, Mary Wells, Al Wilson,
Glen Glenn, Big Joe Turner, Buddy Knox, Gene Vincent's Blue
Caps, the Eddie Cochran Band, Don and Dewey, Rosie of the
Originals, the Fireballs, Jewel Akens, Sue Thompson, Sandy
Nelson and the list goes on. Alan is currently working on
his new CD. It includes duets with Tommy Sands, Glen Glenn,
Donnie Brooks, Ronnie Height, Frankie Ford, Chan Romero, Ron
Holden, Jody Reynolds and Hank Ballard. He is also finishing
up a book on Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
He has also opened for rock-a-billy legend, Glen Glenn, on
many different occasions. They appeared together in Green
Bay for the biggest rock and roll show ever. They appear
every year in Las Vegas at the Gold Coast for Bob Timmers
and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
As this story was being completed, the sad news came of the
passing of Hank Ballard. Alan and Hank became friends back
in the 1980's. They would go out to local area nightclubs
together and have a great time. Alan went to many of Hank's
live shows. They also recorded a duet together, as we
mentioned earlier. According to Clark, "Hank was one of the
nicest and talented performers from the Rock and Roll era."