The following webpages are collections of Alan Freed clippings and images from various newspapers, as well as The Cash Box and Billboard magazines.
The six links shown below cover different time spans in Alan Freed's career, from 1940 until his death in 1965 at age 43.
LISTEN TO ALAN FREED RADIO SHOWS FROM WJW (Cleveland) AND WINS (New York City).
This project, documenting Alan Freed's history through newsprint, has special meaning for me. I grew up listening to Alan Freed on WINS, a radio station in New York City, when I was a kid. I started listening when Freed arrived there in September 1954. Up until then I had played my parent's popular records, which were on labels such as Capitol, Columbia, RCA Victor, etc.
This "new" music that Freed was playing blew me away! It was different and it was fantastic. Something we kids could call our own. Whenever possible, I would listen to Freed, eager to hear and learn about this music. The cliché about listening to the radio under the bed covers late at night was true for me.
The first record I purchased was “Earth Angel” by The Penguins on 78-rpm. Just looking at the nifty DooTone label gave me chills. I had to wait a couple of months for The Penguins' next record to be released. I bought that one, "Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild", and loved it just as much, maybe more, than "Earth Angel".
Freed introduced us to so many great record labels.... DooTone, Atlantic, Spark, Chess, Checker, Herald, Modern, Specialty, Jay-Dee, and many more. And whenever Freed played a record he told us the song title, the artist, and the label it was on. If there was a "cover" record, as became common then, Freed would play the original.
There were so many great "rock 'n' roll" records available in 1954/1955 and earlier.... some I was able to buy, always in the 78-rpm format, such as "Close Your Eyes" by The Five Keys, "The Door Is Still Open" by The Cardinals, "Lonely Nights" by The Hearts, and "Mean Old World" by Little Walter.
This website is dedicated to my brother, Paul, who was also an avid Alan Freed listener and "rock 'n' roll" record collector. Some 78-rpm records that he bought at the time were "Golden Teardrops" by The Flamingos, "If Teardrops Were Kisses" by The Robins, "Big Heavy" by Cozy Eggleson And His Combo (which was Alan Freed's theme song), and "Tweedle Dee"/"Tomorrow Night" by LaVern Baker and The Gliders.
ALAN FREED CAREER SUMMARY("borrowed" from the Ohio History Website):
Alan Freed was a radio personality and creator of the term "Rock and Roll". He was born near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on December 15, 1921. His birth name was Albert James Freed. When he was a child, Freed's family moved to Salem, Ohio. Always interested in music, he played trombone as a teenager in a band called the Sultans of Swing.
Freed was hired by radio station WKST in New Castle, Pennsylvania, in 1942. He became a sportscaster for WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1943. Two years later, he became a disc jockey at WAKR in Akron, Ohio. He remained in Akron until 1949, when he moved to Cleveland to join the staff of WXEL-TV. In 1951, Freed began hosting a rhythm and blues program on WJW radio in Cleveland, using the nickname "Moondog". His program soon had a large popular following. It was during this period that Freed referred to the music he played as "rock & roll" for the first time. At first, much of his audience was African-American. Soon many other Americans began listening to this new style of music. Freed is credited with hosting the first live rock & roll concert in 1952.
Freed moved to WINS radio in New York City in 1954, and "rock & roll" became a common term across the nation. Freed worked with a number of live "rock & roll" concerts which were broadcast by radio across the country. He also acted in a number of movies with musical themes. In 1957, Freed began hosting a live show on ABC television.
In 1959, Freed was caught up in the broadcasting "payola" scandal. He later admitted that he had accepted payments from record companies to play their records on the radio. This scandal led to his dismissal from his television and radio jobs. Freed continued to work as a radio disc jockey in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Miami. He died in Palm Springs, California, on January 20, 1965.
In 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened in Cleveland. Freed was inducted as one of the organization's original members. He also became a member of the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.
ALAN FREED PHOTO GALLERY:
ABOVE RIGHT: Alan Freed's Family: In foreground, left to right, are Lance, 5; Alan Jr., 2; Mrs. Jackie Freed; Sieglinde, 3; in background are Alana, 11; and Alan.
Last Updated: 5/23/20
E-mail: PART ONE (1940 - 1949) HISTORY.