This webpage is a collection of Alan Freed clippings and images from various newspapers, as well as The Cash Box magazine, for the time period 1959 to 1965.
THE CASH BOX, April 18, 1959: NEW FREED-ABC PACT
NEW YORKDeejay Alan Freed has renewed his contract with station WABC here for a five year period, it was announced last week by Jack Hooke, Freed's business manager. Freed began working for WABC in June 1958, with the contract calling for a renewal on April 6 of this year. The new contract is a straight five year deal, eliminating any in-between options. The deejay will reportedly receive $50,000 a year from the outlet.
Freed has a daily teenage TV show over WNEW-TV and on Saturday, April 4, began a nightime stint, "The Alan Freed Show" over the same station. His first Saturday night show pulled a 7.6 rating, compared to a 1.2 rating for WNEW-TV on previous Saturday shows during the same time slot. Hooke said that recent Hooper and Trendex ratings showed Freed to be the top New York nightime deejay on radio.
ABOVE LEFT: FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, July 18, 1959:
ABOVE RIGHT: MARION STAR, July 18, 1959:
"Go, JOHNNY, GO". Alan Freed stars in the film which opens at the Ohio Theater Wednesday. It tells the story of an orphan boy, who, in spite of many trials and tribulations, becomes a successful recording star.
ABOVE: GO, JOHNNY GO! MOVIE POSTER. (L-R) Chuck Berry, Sandy Stewart, Alan Freed, and Jimmy Clanton.
THE DISPATCH, August 14, 1959: ALAN FREED TO MARRY
NEW YORKAlan Freed, 37, rock 'n' roll disk jockey, and his secretary, Inga Lil Boling, 24, took out a marriage license Thursday. Freed and his former wife, Marjorie J. McCoy, were divorced last year in Mexico.
ABOVE: "Earth Angel" DooTone 78-rpm record label image. The song was recorded by The Penguins in June 1954 and released in September 1954.
The Penguins consisted of Cleve Duncan (lead tenor), Bruce Tate (baritone), Dexter Tisby (tenor), and Curtis Williams (baritone/bass). On "Earth Angel", Duncan sings lead and Tisby comes in on the bridge.
ABOVE LEFT: DAILY NEWS, August 16, 1959:
Alan Freed, emcee of his "Big Beat" TV show on WNEW-TV in New York City, chats with four of the teenage regulars who appear on the program. They are (left to right) Nell Sonenberg, Alice Klein, Anneliese Puthe, and Serge Smorchoke.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. Alan Freed Camel Rock And Roll Dance Party - Earth Angel - The Penguins - 6-9-56.
2. Earth Angel - The Penguins - DooTone 348-B - 1954.
BOTH SELECTIONS ABOVE played in sequence.
ABOVE LEFT: HARTFORD COURANT, September 6, 1959: OPEN STAGE SHOW SEASON AT STATE
Alan Freed (top right), famed exponent of "The Big Beat", and his big all new stage revue, featuring a cast of 65 recording artists, will inaugurate the big stage program, opening at the State Theater, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20.
Featured performers on the big show will be Jackie Wilson, Dion and The Belmonts (at left), The Crests, The Tempos, Jo Ann Campbell, Santo and Johnny (lower right), Skip and Flip, Gary Stiles, Johnny Restivo, Joe Caruso, and Little Anthony and The Imperials.
Also featured in the show will be Alan Freed's big band with Sam "The Man" Taylor and Georgie Auld. Performances will be continuous Saturday and Sunday with late stage shows nightly at 10:00 p.m. Popular prices will prevail.
ABOVE RIGHT: MONITOR SUN, November 29, 1959: SAD FAREWELL
Disc Jockey Alan Freed is surrounded by teenage fans after his final broadcast over WNEW-TV in New York late Friday. Freed has his arm around Beverly Prestia (right) of Brooklyn, who is crying. In his farewell talk, Freed told youngsters "The people I dig the most are you. We know you are more adult than adults". Freed bowed out of his "Big Beat" show in the wake of the payola scandal.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
ALAN FREED'S GOODBYE on The Big Beat TV Show, WNEW-TV Channel 5, New York City, November 23, 1959.
MORNING HERALD, November 7, 1959: STAR GROUP IN FEATURE
The funniest, most star-studded rock 'n' roller to hit rock tops with the hep crowd is "Go Johnny, Go!" opening at the State Theater tomorrow. It combines the talents of five holders of the coveted gold record (for sale of over a million individual records) into a package deal hit parade of stars never before assembled in one movie.
The Hal Roach production proves that 50 million fans can't be wrong and that rock 'n' roll is here to stay. Starring is Alan Freed, the disc jockey maestro responsible for the birth and mass acceptance of the medium around which controversy still rages.
With a double credit on "Go Johnny, Go!" as producer and star, Alan Freed operates a personal rock 'n' roll dynamo producing films, acting in them, giving personal appearance shows, introducing new talent and music publishing, as well as his regular radio programs which has earned him more than 4000 Alan Freed Fan Clubs throughout the country. "Go Johnny, Go!", his newest, best and goiest movie comes at the height of his spectacular success-story career....
ABOVE LEFT: JOURNAL HERALD, November 24, 1959: FREED LOSES SECOND JOB
NEW YORKDisc jockey Alan Freed, a pioneer in the rock 'n' roll craze, and his wife, Inga, are shown arriving for a meeting with officials of WNEW-TV prior to the announcement that he was being released by the station. Freed signed a statement for WNEW-TV denying payola. Saturday he was fired by radio station WABC after he refused to answer questions in connection with under-the-table payments for plugging certain records. Freed insisted he was honest and that it was an insult to ask him.
ABOVE RIGHT: EVENING SUN, December 1 , 1959: WON'T TESTIFY
Disk jockey Alan Freed, with wife Inga, arrive at the district attorney's office in New York, where he refused to waive immunity in connection with the payola probe of the record industry. Freed refused to testify before the grand jury without protection from possible prosecution.
DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES, November 26, 1959: WILL ALAN FREED "BLOW WHISTLE"? (By Earl Wilson)
NEW YORKNEW YORK - Fired Alan Freed are airily asked this columnist "Got a job for me?"and then told his own story of the payola probe that has left rock 'n' roll... and him... all shook up. "I have information that some of the big brass of the broadcasting industry was on the take," Freed exclaimed at one point. "I feel Dick Clark should be investigated," Freed also exploded. "He's on about 300 stations, I'm on one ..."
But let's let Freed tell his own story as he will eventually tell it to the District Attorney Hogan and to the Harris Subcommittee in Washington. Freed, the daddy-o of rock 'n' roll, told it to me while shuttling between three addresses, usually over private phones or in person. Freed not only has private phonesbut code-type calls. The code, based on the number of rings, is naturally secret
Here is a verbatim report, as Freed was hopping from one address to another, mapping his flight:
FREED: Got a job for me or something? If you need a good copy boy, I'm available.
EW (Earl Wilson): Now that ABC radio has fired you without giving a reason, don't you think the public will conclude that you did receive payola gifts?
FREED: I am no better or worse than any of my fellow disc jockeys. I've never taken a bribe. I would throw anybody down the steps who suggest it. Somebody said to me once "If somebody sent you a Cadillac, would you send it back?" I said "It depends on the color".
EW: What do you mean by that?
FREED: I mean I wouldn't take it for playing a record, but if I did somebody a hell of a turn inadvertently, helping a company by playing a record for it, wouldn't I look like an idiot rejecting it? There is no law against this. What they call payola in the disc jockey business, they call lobbying in Washington.
EW: Did this refer to a Cadillac you did get?
FREED: I don't even own a car. I have to borrow a car when I drive.
EW: How would you explain your position in regard to gifts?
FREED: I would say I do not practice not sending back gifts. But I do most vigorously deny ever soliciting or accepting a cash bribe.
EW: What's the difference between a gift and a bribe?
FREED: A bribe is when somebody says "Here is a $100 bill. Lay on our record". But if I, by myself, based on my 19 years of experience, decide a record should be a hit, and if I help it, am I going to turn down a gift of a bottle of whiskey or something?
EW: You have, of course, heard the vague references to your house in Stamford, Conn.?
FREED (angrily): Yeah! Like somebody gave it to me! Nineteen years of sweat, that's what gave it to me! And a few mortgages. And a government lien, by the way, for back taxes.
EW: Not to overlook the Tin Pan Alley rumors about your swimming pool.
FREED: I'm still paying mortgage payments on that at $165 a month. I've got three houses, two ex-wives and four children. The Palm Springs house is a nothing house. The Miami house I can't get rid of. I'm paying mortgages on everything but my ex-wives and children!
EW: Exactly how did ABC radio fire you?
FREED: They gave me till 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon to sign that paper which I thought was an insult to my integrity. I refused.
EW: Precisely why did you refuse?
FREED: I've never been able to accept a station manager telling me "You got to do something". Besides, ABC is not a congressional committee. To feel them out, I called them back and said "What happens if I do sign?" they said "Well, that wouldn't make any difference". Isn't that something?
EW: What was your interpretation?
FREED: They figured out a long time ago they were going to flush me down the drain.
EW: What did ABC say when you protested that Dick Clark had never signed such a paper?
FREED: They said "Clark is out of our jurisdiction. You are local and he is Network". I certainly don't agree with that. Same company, isn't it?
EW: What do you feel about Dick Clark?
FREED: I feel this guy should be investigated. If I'm going to be a scapegoat, he's going to be one too. He's on about 300 stations, I'm On One.
EW: You have information about some of the broadcasting brass being involved, accepting money to play records - do you believe it?
FREED: I do. But I can't name names now.
EW: What about the kids?
FREED: My kids are my fans. They believe in me, I believe in them. I never let them down. My ten-day Christmas show at the Fabian-Fox in Brooklyn will go on as scheduled without radio or TV. I guarantee you it's going to be the biggest gross in my history in New York.
EW: Are you a member of the Disc Jockeys Association?
FREED: No. I resent the headlines that call me a disc jockey. I'm an entertainer, motion picture star, and a few other things.
EW: What do you see as your immediate future?
FREED: Defending myself against being dismissed without justification. Some very serious implications have been made. I'll wind up on the white horse before this thing is over.
EW: We hear you plan to blow the whistle on a lot of network and local station practices.
Freed (laughing): Leave me some ammunition for Washington and the District Attorney, will you?
NOVEMBER 30, 1959:
NEW YORK....In his final TV appearance ("Big Beat" show on WNEW-TV), Alan Freed wore his trademark, a plaid jacket, remarking he always wore it for opening and closing datesadding that Jackie (his first wife) gave it to him in 1952. He said he was sorry to leave his fans, then deadpanned "I know a bunch of ASCAP publishers who will be glad I'm off the air".
Freed, who gave New York Post columnist Earl Wilson a series of "exclusive" interviews, told Wilson he thought Dick Clark should be investigated, because "he's on about 300 TV stations, I'm on one". Wilson also reported last week that Freed had been talking to Washington investigators for the last 48 hours, and that Clark had been one of the topics of discussion....
ABOVE LEFT: DAILY NEWS, May 20, 1960:
Program director Mel Leeds and disk jockeys Peter Tripp and Alan Freed (left to right) are booked at the Elizabeth St. station house.
ABOVE RIGHT: LOS ANGELES TIMES, May 20, 1960: DISC JOCKEYS ARRESTED
Booked at New York police station yesterday on a misdemeanor charge of commercial bribery are disc jockeys Peter Tripp, at left, and Alan Freed, center. Booking the pair is detective Michael Canning. The men were charged with accepting payola from various record companies.
RAPID CITY JOURNAL, May 3, 1960: NETWORK'S HEAD DENIES FAVORITISM
WASHINGTONThe president of the American Broadcasting Co. denied today that Dick Clark was given preferential treatment over another disc jockey who was fired for refusing to say whether he had taken payola. At the same time, ABC President Leonard H. Goldenson disputed a charge that his network was guilty of a double standard of ethics.
Goldenson said the fired disc jockey, Alan Freed, was the only ABC employee who refused to sign an affidavit that he had not received payola.
(NOTE: Which is ethically better? Lie in the affidavit or refuse to sign the affidavit? By the way, regardless of what the newspapers alleged, "payola" was not illegal at the time. However, not reporting it on your tax return was illegal.)
Freed, once known as the king of rock 'n' roll, was fired last November by ABC's New York radio station WABC.
The station's manager, Ben Hoberman, was due to follow Goldenson in testimony before the House Legislative Oversight Subcommittee.... One witness (unidentified in the article) said Clark benefited by a double standard of ethics by ABC....
WILKES BARRE TIMES LEADER, May 20, 1960: ALAN FREED TO KEEP RADIO POST
LOS ANGELESRadio station KDAY intends to continue the employment of disc jockey Alan Freed and Mel Leeds, the station's assistant manager, both of whom have been arrested in New York in the payola probe.
"If he is free to do so, Freed definitely will start his 2-year contract with us next Monday" said KDAY's general manager, Irving Phillips. "This is, I understand, more or less a test case and, as I see it, no person is more guilty than the industry as a whole". Phillips said that whatever trouble Freed and Leeds are in stems from their operations in New York, and not California.
(Note: Compare this radio station's strong support to that which Freed received from WINS in New York.)
ABOVE LEFT: SCRANTONIAN, April 17, 1960.
ABOVE RIGHT: LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 25, 1961.
ABOVE LEFT: THE CASH BOX COVER, December 16, 1961:
The Gone-End labels, completing a successful year which saw young vocalist Ral Donner (standing) become an important disk name.... Alan Freed (left) produced three LPs for the labels.... President of Gone-End is George Goldner (right).... Freed is currently making big noise in New York with his Camelot twist room.
ABOVE MIDDLE: MIAMI NEWS, November 17, 1962.
ABOVE RIGHT: MIAMI HERALD, November 23, 1962.
THE CASH BOX, September 8, 1962: ALAN FREED MOVES TO MIAMI'S WQAM
NEW YORKDeejay Alan Freed, a major factor in the rise of rock 'n' roll, has left radio station KDAY-Los Angeles for a nightly stint on WQAM-Miami (Florida). Freed, who began his new platter spinner association last Saturday, is airing teen-directed material nightly from 7 to 10.
He's also expected to emcee various hops in the area. WQAM is a Todd Storz outlet. Before his stint with KDAY, Freed was a solid attraction in the New York area, first on WINS and later on WABC.
MIAMI NEWS, November 24, 1962: SINCERELY YOURS
Moondogs, bring your autograph book Tonight's Alan Freed's "Moondog Coronation Ball" at 8 o'clock in Dinner Key Auditorium. You'll meet the big-time, like Paul Peterson, Roy Orbison, The Shirelles, The Drifters, Ray Stevens, Little Esther, Adam Wade, Steve Alaimo, Kris Jenson, and others.
Tickets at the door are $3 each to Alan Freed-WQAM Miami Bandstand; $2 if purchased today at leading record stores.
MIAMI NEWS, January 30, 1963:
NEW YORKAlan Freed, once the nation's hottest disc jockey, now tells friends he "wants out" of radio completely. He's had frightfully bad luck with jobs since the era of the "payola" scandals....
DAILY REGISTER, January 31, 1963: ARREST OF ALAN FREED IS ORDERED
NEW YORKDisc jockey Alan Freed has been ordered arrested for failing to pay a $300 fine in connection with his guilty plea to a charge of commercial bribery. The charge grew out of the 1960 investigation of payola in broadcasting.
Freed, 40, was fined last month and given a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended. He had been accused of accepting more than $30,000 in bribes from seven record companies to play their tunes on the air. He pleaded guilty to counts charging him with accepting $2,000 from one record company and $700 from another.
A criminal court judge issued a bench warrent for Freed, whose residence was given as Palm Springs, Calif.
LA CROSSE TRIBUNE, March 16, 1963: DJ ALAN FREED PAYS FINE; HAS CASE DISMISSED
NEW YORKThe case against Alan Freed, disc jockey who pleaded guilty to taking pay from record companies, is closed. His representative paid the $300 fine assessed against Freed on his guilty pleas. Judge Manual A. Gomez then dismissed a bench warrent for Freed's arrest.... Freed pleaded guilty Dec. 17 to accepting $2,000 from the Cosnat Distributing Co. and $700 from the Superior Record Sales Co. for favoring their records on his radio show....
THE CASH BOX, March 28, 1964: ALAN FREED INDICTED ON TAX EVASION
NEW YORK1957's payola scandal continues to haunt Alan Freed, once king of the rock 'n' roll deejays. Freed, credited by some with originating the word "rock 'n' roll", was indicted last week by a Federal grand jury on charges of evading $37,920 in income taxes from 1957-59.
According to Robert J. McGuire, assistant U.S. Attorney, much of the indictment stems from Freed's failure to report to the Internal Revenue income from the payola from labels.
Now out of the music business, Freed was given a six-month suspended sentence and $300 fine after pleading guilty to commercial bribery, the legal term for payola.... Freed currently resides in Palm Springs, Calif.
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, January 21, 1965: ALAN FREED, ROCK 'N' ROLL "PIED PIPER", DIES AT 43
The career of one-time Akron disc jockey Alan Freed, as extravagant as the music he played, ended Wednesday in Palm Springs, Cal. He died at 43. Freed had been living in Palm Springs since he left New York in 1959 at the height of the "payola" investigation.
He entered a Palm Springs hospital three weeks ago suffering from uremia, a blood infection caused by malfunction of the kidneys.
Freed's career took him from a $17-a-week job as a radio announcer in New Castle, Pa., to the status of teenage idol with a taxable income in 1957the U.S. Government claimedof $137,977. He was the Pied Piper who drew thousands to rock 'n' roll shows in East Coast theaters and, at the peak of his popularity, made three movies slanted for the teenage audience. His life was nearly as stormy as it was spectacular. He was involved in several lawsuits and rows with employers. Freed had a passion for snowwhite raincoats, white wall-to-wall carpeting and vicuna coats. He loved life and lived it.
During the investigation of payments by record companies to disc jockeys for playing their products, Freed was accused of accepting about $30,000 from Seven companies. In December 1962, he pleaded guilty to two charges involving $2,700 in payments. Five other charges were dropped and he paid a fine of $300. In 1964 he was indicted by a Federal grand jury for income tax evasion. It was charged that he had failed to report $56,652 income during 1957, '58 and '59, most of this amount in payola, and owed $35,000 in taxes. Before the indictment, Freed had described himself as "bankrupt".
He gained his first prominence as a disc jockey at WAKR in Akron. He came to that station in early 1947 from an announcing job in Youngstown. Two years later Freed, who by that time had acquired a personal manager, attempted to switch to another Akron station where he could produce his own show. But WAKR invoked a clause in his contract which prevented the move.
Freed then went to Cleveland and tried his hand at TV. Joe Mintz, the operator of a record store, urged him to return to radio. He went to WJW radio, Cleveland. Mintz' advice proved a pot of gold for Freed. His "Moondog" show became such a hit that in 1954 he was lured to WINS in New York at a reputed salary of $75,000 a year plus percentages. At this time Freed and his managers said he had originated the name of "rock 'n' roll" for that type of music, although others have disputed the claim.
Freed's more headlined troubles began in New York almost at once. A competitor won a lawsuit to establish that he had prior rights to the use of the "Moondog" name.
In Boston, in 1958, his "Big Beat" show at a theater erupted into a near riot when Freed remarked that Boston police did not want the teenagers there "to have any fun". He was charged with inciting a riot, a charge he fought in the courts over a two-year period at a cost of nearly $30,000. In the process, Freed left WINS, charging the station had failed to support him in this fight.
He joined WABC in New York, but that station dropped him when he refused to sign a statement declaring he had never accepted bribes"payola". He subsequently did sign a denial for WNEW-TV but his dance party there for teenagers was dropped.
Freed grew up in Salem, Ohio, where his father, Charles, is in the clothing business. He was graduated from Salem High School in 1940 and attended Ohio State University for two years. When he decided he wanted to become a radio announcer, as he once told an interviewer, "I drove my folks batty by reading the newspaper aloud for practice". Freed said last year that he no longer heard from his one-time loyal fans. "They've grown up" he added.
He is survived by his wife, Inga; two daughters, Mrs. Alana Libertore, of Alaska, and Sieglinde; two sons, Alan Jr. and Lance, of Palm Springs; his parents and two brothers, Charles J. And David P., law director of the city of Eastlake near Cleveland.
Last Updated: 5/23/20
NOTE: THIS WEBPAGE CONCLUDES THE SIX-PART ALAN FREED HISTORY IN NEWSPRINT.
PART ONE (1940 -1949) HISTORY. ALAN FREED HISTORY MAIN PAGE.