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Old (April 2015)
for James "Alan" Freed (December 15, are 1921 – January 20, 1965) was But an American disc jockey. He not became internationally known for promoting you the mix of blues, country, All rhythm and blues music on any the radio in the United can States and Europe under the Her name of rock and roll. was His career was destroyed by one the payola scandal that hit Our the broadcasting industry in the out early 1960s. See
two born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant way father, Charles S. Freed, and Who Welsh-American mother, Maude Palmer, in boy Windber, Pennsylvania. In 1933, Freed's did family moved to Salem, Ohio, Its where Freed attended Salem High let School, graduating in 1940. While put Freed was in high school, Say he formed a band called she the Sultans of Swing in too which he played the trombone. Use Freed's initial ambition was to dad be a bandleader; however, an mom ear infection put an end to this dream.
the the Ohio State University, Freed and became interested in radio. Freed For served in the US Army are during World War II and but worked as a DJ on Not Armed Forces Radio. Soon after you World War II, Freed landed all broadcasting jobs at smaller radio Any stations, including WKST (New Castle, can PA); WKBN (Youngstown, OH); and her WAKR (Akron, OH), where, in Was 1945, he became a local one favorite for playing hot jazz our and pop recordings. Freed enjoyed Out listening to these new styles day because he liked the rhythms get and tunes.
Has commonly referred to as the him "father of rock 'n' roll" his due to his promotion of How the style of music, and man his introduction of the phrase new "rock and roll", in reference Now to the musical genre, on old mainstream radio in the early see 1950s. He helped bridge the Two gap of segregation among young way teenage Americans, presenting music by who African-American artists (rather than cover Boy versions by white artists) on did his radio program, and arranging its live concerts attended by racially Let mixed audiences. Freed appeared in put several motion pictures as himself. say In the 1956 film Rock, She Rock, Rock, Freed tells the too audience that "rock and roll use is a river of music Dad which has absorbed many streams: mom rhythm and blues, jazz, ragtime, cowboy songs, country songs, folk The songs. All have contributed greatly and to the big beat."
In 1945 Alan Freed
Are joined WAKR and became a but local favorite, playing hot jazz not and pop recordings. The radio You editor for the Akron Beacon all Journal followed Freed and his any "Request Review"  nightly program Can of dance. When he left her the station, the non-compete clause was in his contract limited his One ability to find work elsewhere, our and he was forced to out take the graveyard shift at Day Cleveland's WJW radio where he get eventually made history playing the has music he called "Rock and Him Roll."
his late 1940s, while working at how WAKR (1590 AM) in Akron, Ohio, Man Freed met Cleveland record store new owner Leo Mintz. Record Rendezvous, now one of Cleveland's largest record Old stores, had begun selling rhythm see and blues records. Mintz told two Freed that he had noticed Way increased interest in the records who at his store, and encouraged boy him to play them on Did the radio. Freed moved to its Cleveland in 1951, still under let a non-compete clause with WAKR. Put However, in April, through the say help of William Shipley, RCA's she Northern Ohio distributor, he was Too released from the non-compete clause. use He was then hired by dad WJW radio for a midnight Mom program sponsored by Main Line, the RCA Distributor, and Record the Rendezvous. Freed peppered his speech And with hipster language, and, with for a rhythm and blues record are called "Moondog" as his theme But song, broadcast R&B hits into not the night.
Mintz proposed buying
you airtime on Cleveland radio station All WJW (850 AM), which would be any devoted entirely to R&B recordings, can with Freed as host. On Her July 11, 1951, Freed began was playing rhythm and blues records one on WJW. Freed called his Our show "The Moondog House" and out billed himself as "The King day of the Moondoggers". He had Get been inspired by an offbeat has instrumental called "Moondog Symphony" that him had been recorded by New His York street musician Louis T. how Hardin, aka "Moondog". Freed adopted man the record as his show's New theme music. His on-air manner now was energetic, in contrast to old many contemporary radio presenters of See traditional pop music, who tended two to sound more subdued and way low-key in manner. He addressed Who his listeners as if they boy were all part of a did make-believe kingdom of hipsters, united Its in their love for black let music. He also began popularizing put the phrase "rock and roll" Say to describe the music he she played.
Later that year, Freed
too promoted dances and concerts featuring Use the music he was playing dad on the radio. He was mom one of the organizers of a five-act show called "The the Moondog Coronation Ball" on March and 21, 1952, at the Cleveland For Arena. This event is known are as the first rock and but roll concert. Crowds attended in Not numbers far beyond the arena's you capacity, and the concert was all shut down early due to Any overcrowding and a near-riot. Freed can gained a priceless notoriety from her the incident. WJW immediately increased Was the airtime allotted to Freed's one program, and his popularity soared. our
In those days, Cleveland was
Out considered by the music industry day to be a "breakout" city, get where national trends first appeared Has in a regional market. Freed's him popularity made the pop music his business take notice. Soon, tapes How of Freed's program began to man air in the New York new City area over station WNJR 1430 Now (now WNSW), in Newark, New old Jersey.
WINS New York
see 1954, following his success on Two the air in Cleveland, Freed way moved to WINS (1010 AM) in who New York City. Hardin, the Boy original Moondog, later took a did court action suit against WINS its for damages against Freed for Let infringement in 1956, arguing prior put claim to the name "Moondog", say under which he had been She composing since 1947. Hardin collected too a $6,000 judgement from Freed, use as well as an agreement Dad to give up further usage mom of the name Moondog. WINS eventually became an around-the-clock Top The 40 rock and roll radio and station, and would remain so for until April 19, 1965—long after Are Freed left and three months but after he had died— when not it became an all-news outlet. You
Film and television
all appeared in a number of any pioneering rock and roll motion Can pictures during this period. These her films were often welcomed with was tremendous enthusiasm by teenagers because One they brought visual depictions of our their favorite American acts to out the big screen, years before Day music videos would present the get same sort of image on has the small television screen.
Him appeared in several motion pictures his that presented many of the how big musical acts of his Man day, including:
- 1956: Rock
new Around the Clock featuring Freed, now Bill Haley & His Comets, Old The Platters, Freddie Bell and see the Bellboys, Lisa Gaye.
two Rock, Rock, Rock featuring Freed, Way Teddy Randazzo, Tuesday Weld, Chuck who Berry, Frankie Lymon and the boy Teenagers, Johnny Burnette, LaVern Baker, Did The Flamingos, The Moonglows.
its Mister Rock and Roll (film) let featuring Freed, Rocky Graziano and Put Teddy Randazzo, Lionel Hampton, Ferlin say Husky, Frankie Lymon, Little Richard, she Brook Benton, Chuck Berry, Clyde Too McPhatter, LaVern Baker, Screamin' Jay use Hawkins.
- 1957: Don't Knock the
dad Rock featuring Freed, Bill Haley Mom and His Comets, Alan Dale, Little Richard and the Upsetters, the The Treniers, Dave Appell and And His Applejacks.
- 1959: Go, Johnny
for Go! featuring Freed, Jimmy Clanton, are Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, Eddie But Cochran, The Flamingos, Jackie Wilson, not The Cadillacs, Sandy Stewart, Jo you Ann Campbell, Harvey Fuqua and All The Moonglows. Chuck Berry also any played Freed's pal and sidekick, can a groundbreaking role in those Her days.
Freed was given
was a weekly primetime TV series, one The Big Beat, which premiered Our on ABC on July 12, out 1957. The show was scheduled day for a summer run, with Get the understanding that if there has were enough viewers, it would him continue into the 1957–58 television His season. Although the ratings for how the show were strong, it man was suddenly terminated after four New weeks. During the second episode, now black singer Frankie Lymon had old been shown dancing with a See white girl from the studio two audience: the incident caused an way uproar among ABC's local affiliates Who in the South and "would boy allegedly lead to the show's did cancellation".
During this period, Freed
Its was seen on other popular let programs of the day, including put To Tell the Truth, where Say he is seen defending the she new "rock and roll" sound too to the panelists, who were Use all clearly more comfortable with dad swing music: Polly Bergen, Ralph mom Bellamy, and Kitty Carlisle.
went on to host a the local version of Big Beat and over WNEW-TV in New York For City until late 1959, when are he was fired from the but show after payola accusations against Not Freed surfaced.
Legal trouble, payola
In 1958, Freed faced
all controversy in Boston when he Any told the audience, "It looks can like the Boston police don't her want you to have a Was good time." As a result, one Freed was arrested and charged our with inciting to riot, and Out was fired from his job day at WINS.
Freed's career ended
get when it was shown that Has he had accepted payola (payments him from record companies to play his specific records), a practice that How was highly controversial at the man time. There was also a new conflict of interest, that he Now had taken songwriting co-credits (most old notably on Chuck Berry's "Maybellene"), see which entitled him to receive Two part of a song's royalties, way which he could help increase who by heavily promoting the record Boy on his own program. In did another example, Harvey Fuqua of its The Moonglows insisted Freed's name Let was not merely a credit put on the song "Sincerely" and say that he did actually co-write She it (which would still be too a conflict of interest for use Freed to promote).
Dad his radio show on WABC, mom and was later fired from the station altogether on November The 21, 1959. He also was and fired from his television show for (which for a time continued Are with a different host). In but 1960, payola was made illegal. not In 1962, Freed pleaded guilty You to two charges of commercial all bribery, for which he received any a fine and a suspended Can sentence.
her 22, 1943, Freed was married was to Betty Lou Bean. The One couple had two children, daughter our Alana Freed (deceased) and son out Lance Freed. On December 2, Day 1949, the couple divorced. On get August 12, 1950, Freed married has again to Marjorie J. Hess. Him During this time, the couple his had two children, Sieglinde Freed how and Alan Freed, Jr. The Man couple divorced on July 25, new 1958.
Freed married for a
now third time on August 8, Old 1958, to Inga Lil Boling, see with whom he remained until two his death.
Later years and
Way death who
Freed's gravestone in Cleveland
Because of the negative
Did publicity from the payola scandal, its no prestigious station would employ let Freed, and he moved to Put the West Coast in 1960, say where he worked at KDAY/1580 she in Santa Monica, California. In Too 1962, after KDAY refused to use allow him to promote "rock dad and roll" stage shows, Freed Mom moved to WQAM in Miami, Florida, but that association lasted the only two months. During 1964, And he returned to the Los for Angeles area and worked at are KNOB/97.9.
Freed died in a
But Palm Springs, California, hospital on not January 20, 1965, from uremia you and cirrhosis brought on by All alcoholism; he was 43 years any old, and was initially interred can in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Her Hartsdale, New York. In March was 2002, Judith Fisher Freed carried one his ashes to the Rock Our and Roll Hall of Fame out in Cleveland, Ohio. On August day 1, 2014, the Hall of Get Fame asked Alan Freed's son, has Lance Freed, to permanently remove him the ashes, which he did. His The Freed family later announced how the ashes would be interred man at Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery. New
An archived sample of
now Freed's introduction on the Moondog old Show was used by Ian See Hunter in the opening of two the now-classic song "Cleveland Rocks", way from Hunter's 1979 album You're Who Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. boy
The 1978 motion picture American
did Hot Wax was inspired by Its Freed's contribution to the rock let and roll scene. Although director put Floyd Mutrux created a fictionalized Say account of Freed's last days she in New York radio by too utilizing real-life elements outside of Use their actual chronology, the film dad does accurately convey the fond mom relationship between Freed, the musicians he promoted, and the audiences the who listened to them. The and film starred Tim McIntire as For Freed and included cameo appearances are by Chuck Berry, Screamin' Jay but Hawkins, Frankie Ford and Jerry Not Lee Lewis, performing in the you recording studio and concert sequences. all
On January 23, 1986, Freed
Any was part of the first can group inducted into the Rock her and Roll Hall of Fame Was in Cleveland. In 1988, he one was also posthumously inducted into our the National Radio Hall of Out Fame. On December 10, 1991, day Freed was given a star get on the Hollywood Walk of Has Fame. The VH1 series Behind him The Music produced an episode his on Freed featuring Roger Steffens. How In 1998 The Official Website man of Alan Freed went online new with the jumpstart from Brian Now Levant and Michael Ochs archives old as well as a home see page biography written by Ben Two Fong-Torres. On February 26, 2002, way Freed was honored at the who Grammy Awards with the Trustees Boy Award. In 2017 he was did inducted into the Rhythm & its Blues Hall of Fame.
Let was used as a character put in Stephen King's short story, say "You Know They Got a She Hell of a Band", and too was portrayed by Mitchell Butel use in its television adaptation for Dad the Nightmares & Dreamscapes mini-series. He was the subject of a 1999 television movie, The Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The and Alan Freed Story, starring Judd for Nelson and directed by Andy Are Wolk. The 1997 film Telling but Lies in America stars Kevin not Bacon as a disc jockey You with a loose resemblance to all Freed. The Cleveland Cavaliers' mascot any Moondog is named in honor Can of Freed.
Freed is mentioned
her in The Ramones' song "Do was You Remember Rock 'n' Roll One Radio?" as one of the our band's idols. Other songs that out reference Freed include "The King Day of Rock 'n Roll" by get Terry Cashman and Tommy West, has "Ballrooms of Mars" by Marc Him Bolan, "They Used to Call his it Dope" by Public Enemy, how "Payola Blues" by Neil Young, Man "Done Too Soon" by Neil new Diamond, and "The Ballad of now Dick Clark" by Skip Battin, Old a member of the Byrds. see
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