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Jan 202016
 

Alan FreedJanuary 20, 1965 – Albert James “Alan” Freed also known as Moondog, was born on December 15, 1921 in Windber, Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as the “father of rock and roll”, became internationally known for promoting African-American R & B music on the radio in the USA and Europe under the name of Rock and Roll. That is why his inclusion into Rock and Roll Paradise.

In 1933, Freed’s family moved to Salem, Ohio where Freed attended Salem High School, graduating in 1940. While Freed was in high school, he formed a band called the Sultans of Swing in which he played the trombone. Freed’s initial ambition was to be a bandleader; however, an ear infection put an end to this dream.

The Origins of the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1949, he moved to Cleveland and, in April 1950, he joined WXEL-TV/Channel 9 as the afternoon movie show host. The next year, he got a job playing classical music on Cleveland radio station WJW. On July 11th, 1951, Alan started playing rhythm and blues records on WJW and called his show “The Moondog House” and billed himself as “The King of the Moondoggers”. He had been inspired by an offbeat instrumental called “Moondog Symphony” that had been recorded by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, aka “Moondog”.

In 1954, following his success on the air in Cleveland, Alan moved to New York City where he turned WINS into a rock and roll radio station, which it would remain until April 19th 1965 when it became a news outlet. He began recording a weekly half-hour segment of the Radio Luxembourg show called Jamboree that was aired on Saturday nights at 9:30 PM. Jamboree with Alan Freed was heard throughout the British Isles and much of Europe via the powerful AM nighttime signal of Radio Luxembourg, 208, and outside of Europe by a simultaneous relay via transmission on shortwave.

WINS eventually became an around-the-clock Top 40 rock-and-roll radio station, and would remain so until April 19, 1965—long after Freed left and three months after he had died— when it became an all-news outlet. While in New York, Life magazine credited Freed as the originator of the rock ‘n roll craze.

It was at the height of Alan’s career at the beginning of his new television series that various opposing individuals decided to use him as a scapegoat for all that was wrong with the recorded music industry. His show, The Big Beat (which predated American Bandstand), on ABC, was suddenly canceled after an episode in which Frankie Lymon of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers was seen dancing with a white girl. His career ended when accusations were made, and proven, that he had accepted payola, or accepted bribes from record companies to play specific records. He moved to the West Coast in 1960, where he worked at KDAY-AM in Santa Monica, California. In 1962, after KDAY refused to allow him to promote “rock and roll” stage shows, Freed moved to WQAM in Miami, Florida, but that association lasted 2 months. During 1964, he returned to the Los Angeles area and worked at KNOB/97.9.

He died in a Palm Springs, California hospital on January 20, 1965 from uremia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. He was 43 years old. Freed was initially interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. In March 2002, Judith Fisher Freed, carried his ashes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. On August 1, 2014, the Hall of Fame asked Alan Freed’s son, Lance Freed, to permanently remove the ashes, which he did. The Freed family later announced the ashes would be interred at Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

On January 23, 1986, Freed was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was built in Cleveland in recognition of Freed’s involvement in the promotion of the genre. In 1988, he was also posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. On December 10, 1991, Freed was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.