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Alan Freed

Related: 1940s - 1950s - American music - rock music - radio


1951: Cleveland, Ohio DJ Alan Freed [white]begins calling "rocking music" by the name "rock and roll."


Alan Freed, also known as Moondog (December 15, 1921 January 20, 1965) was an American disc-jockey (DJ) who became internationally known for promoting African-American Rhythm and Blues (R&B) music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of Rock and Roll. Many of the top African American performers of the first generation of rock and roll (such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry), salute Alan Freed for his pioneering attitude in breaking down racial barriers among the youth of 1950s America. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Freed [Feb 2006]

Payola [...]

Late Forties

Going back to the new music style of the late forties, it is interesting to note that the new music style was in place but it had no official name. The name for the music came, when the noted disc jockey Alan Freed (Albert James Freed, 1921-1965) went on the air again on the 11th July, 1951, with his first Rock and Roll Party in which he actually programmed black music for a white audience. Alan Freed had been talked into returning to radio by Leo Mintz, a record store owner in Cleveland, after a position as disc jockey at a television station, and Leo Mintz even suggested that Alan Freed should try to play the rocking tunes known as 'race records', that were so popular and bought in large numbers by the jukebox operators in the Negro neighborhoods. Alan Freed is said to have coined the new phrase from the lyrics of the 1947 rhythm'n'blues hit "We're Gonna Rock (We're Gonna Roll)" released on Apollo label by Wild Bill Moore (William M. Moore, 1918-1983), but Wild Bill Moore also recorded the tune "Rock and Roll" on Modern label in 1949. The same tune had in fact been released on Manor label by Paul Bascomb in 1947 before the record ban, so it might have been that tune instead that gave Alan Freed the new phrase. After Alan Freed had used the new phrase in his radio shows other disc jockeys at big radio stations all over America followed suit. -- http://juke-box.dk/gert-rocknroll.htm

Rock 'n Roll

1951- Freed came on at 11:15 PM -2:30 AM Saturdays. WJW-AM in Cleveland. "Moondog House Rock and Roll Party" he called it. But the music was Rhythm and Blues. And the name referred to the show.

Freed's sponsor was a record store, Record Rendezvous, down the street from the studio. If they purchased a record, his job was to push it.

Called himself Moondog - a creature of the night. Pleaded with listeners to come in and pledge their loyalty to him - to be Moondoggers. And as reward for this loyalty, someday he was gonna throw them a huge party in Cleveland's Arena. He'd invite all the artists whose songs he played.

Which isn't exactly how it turned out. The Moondog Coronation Ball, held in Cleveland on March 21, 1952, was a riot. A madhouse of people and energy. Like Freed, a contrast. A raging success and a total failure. Click on link to read more about it!

Did he coin the term "rock and roll"? Probably. And if he didn't, he made it famous. http://www.fiftiesweb.com/freed.htm

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