Well, she went on to do just that for the better part of the last 25 years, but the fact that people still remember that moment to this day is also a tribute to Clark and the pop-music-driven show he ruled for 40 years.
"Rest in peace Dick Clark," the Material Girl tweeted, along with a link to her famous interview, upon hearing that Clark had died suddenly this morning at 82.
Be they in music, movies, TV or politics, celebs and organizations of all stripes joined Madonna in paying their respects to the TV legend.
"This is a sad day," Barry Manilow said in a statement. "He was a dear friend, supporting me and my music for all of my years in the business. A great businessman and a true gentleman. An inspiration. My heart is so heavy now."
Wrote Smokey Robinson: "I loved Dick Clark. He was so instrumental in my career as well as all the other Motown acts and so many others in the recording business. Good bye my friend, rest in peace."
"I'm one of the lucky people who can say that I knew Dick Clark personally," Kenny Rogers said in a statement. "Dick produced almost every awards show I was on during the 80's, and he constantly encouraged me toward success. He will be missed by everyone—especially by those who knew him well."
"Dick Clark will be truly missed," tweeted Fergie, who has hosted the concert segments of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest since 2006. "We will carry on his legacy every New Year's Eve."
"I had the opportunity to work with & be awarded by Mr. Clark," wrote Bret Michaels. "Condolences to his family he'll be missed!"
"Dick Clark changed the face of musical television," noted Janet Jackson. "He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God bless."
"Another sad day. This world is losing too many fine people. Live for the moment. Treasure your memories. Blessings to you all," Jermaine Jackson wrote. "Dick Clark always came to our dressing pre-show to make sure we were okay and catered for. Big hearted. One-of-a-kind. Will be missed...#DickClark played a very special role in our lives, involved in our first concerts as J5,"He was like family. What a man. RIP my friend."
"Rest in Peace my good friend Dick Clark," Quincy Jones wrote. "A pioneer who's mark on American culture will be felt forever."
"Dick Clark was such an institution and inspiration," tweeted Katie Couric. "Not ashamed to say I loved American bandstand when I was a kid!"
Nor was Ice T: "I'm old enough to remember watching James Brown on American Bandstand.. Dick Clark was the man! RestInPeace."
Marie Osmond recalled thinking, during her first appearance on Bandstand in 1974, that "Dick Clark was the most handsome man in show business. In 1998, when he created and produced the Donny & Marie talk show, I realized that was truly the hardest working man in show biz. And, now in 2012, I will always remember him as one of the most honorable men in show business. Thank you, Dick, for every great way you encouraged me in my career. You are loved."
Added brother Donny Osmond, who also succeeded Clark as host of the game show Pyramid: "The industry lost a legend today, but I feel like I've lost a very close friend. Dick was a mentor to me, and not just through American Bandstand and The American Music Awards. Dick played an important role as producer in the creation of the Donny & Marie Talk Show. But, my most special memory of Dick was when he appeared as a contestant on his well-established television game show, Pyramid, which I was privileged to host for two years."
"Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist," tweeted Larry King. "Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company."
"What a career Dick Clark had! What a life!" added fellow multitasker Anderson Cooper. "My thoughts are with his family and friends."
Moving through the generations, a tweet from the Jonas Brothers read, "You'll continue to be an inspiration to us all Dick Clark. Thanks for the amazing rockin years you were with us. You'll truly be missed."
"So sorry to hear about the passing of the incomperable [sic] Dick Clark," added Nick Lachey. "Few people have left such an impression on our industry as he did!#rip."
"RIP Dick Clark many years of joy on TV and never forget nye 95' when I was still in HS," tweeted Joey Fatone.
"Dick Clark was one of my mentors but more importantly he was the best fan an entertainer could have," Lionel Richie said in a statement. "He understood artistry as well as the DNA of artists. Dick introduced me to network television and gave me the confidence to pursue and execute my career goals. For that, I will always be thankful. I will miss him dearly."
Mariah Carey also noted: "Dick Clark was one of my favorite people in the music business. We worked together for several years and it was genuinely a pleasure. I was devastated when I found out he had passed away today. His legacy will live on forever and ever."
Even when he wasn't on camera, Clark was a heavy hitter in the air space where good television met music.
"Dick Clark's dedication to the world of music—and the country format in particular—helped raise the profile of the Academy of Country Music, beginning with him hosting the Awards in 1969 and later, as our Executive Producer," read a statement from the ACM. "He was an energetic leader in establishing the Academy as a television presence and helped expand the reach of the genre overall, always bringing new talent to the viewers he loved so much. We are proud that his lasting legacy continues four decades later, with his son, R.A. Clark, producing our Awards. He will be greatly missed."
Grammys honcho Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement: "Recording Academy Trustees Award recipient Dick Clark was an entertainment icon, bringing music into the homes of millions of Americans over his nearly 60-year career. His shows American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve blazed new trails in pop music and became pivotal celebrations of music on television, spotlighting both established and emerging artists. Our deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends, fans, and all who have enjoyed his great contributions to music and entertainment. He will be terribly missed, and his legacy will live on forever."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose metropolis was taken over by Clark & Co. every Dec. 31, said: "Times Square is considered the crossroads of the world in no small part because Dick Clark's New Year's Eve celebrations there were beamed across the globe. I remember one New Year's Eve, he and I stood in Times Square marveling about how much the area—and the City—had improved over the years. But Dick Clark never had to change—he was a great entertainer who stood the test of time. Generations of Americans grew up with Dick, and yet he seemed forever young. His spirit will always live on in Times Square, and in hearts of millions of New Yorkers."
The New Years Rockin' Eve team vowed via Twitter: "Dick Clark was a pioneer, entrepreneur, showman, icon, legend. The first to truly integrate music and TV. We will march on with his vision."