“Forgotten Hollywood”- Rock ‘n’ Roll Never Forgets…

Posted on May 7, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   The ashes of Alan Freed, a seminal figure in the history of modern music, have found a home in Cleveland, where the disc jockey coined the term rock ‘n’ roll, and organized what’s considered the genre’s first concert more than 60 years ago. A monument was unveiled Saturday at the Lake View Cemetery during a ceremony to celebrate Freed’s colorful and tumultuous life. During the tribute, music artists spoke about Freed’s legacy.

   The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, built there in part because of Freed, asked to bury the ashes outside the museum as part of a cornerstone. Those plans were thwarted by a city law saying human remains can be buried only in a cemetery. An urn containing the ashes spent time beneath an escalator inside the museum before being put on display around 2002. Freed’s family was asked to take the urn back in 2014 after a new chief executive decided the display was inappropriate. After nearly two years in a vault at Lake View, the urn was buried at a grave site on Friday.

Alan_Freed_1957   Alan Freed was born near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Salem, Ohio when he was 12. He found his calling in radio while a student at Ohio State, and worked at various stations before landing a job in Cleveland, where he promoted popular rhythm and blues artists on his Moondog Show. Cleveland also is where he applied the phrase rock ‘n’ roll (slang for sex in the black community) to music. Freed, while a disc jockey in Cleveland, took his initial steps to synthesize a new musical form that blended jazz, blues, pop, rhythm and blues, and country music into what’s known today as rock ‘n’ roll. Freed organized what’s considered the first rock ‘n’ roll concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball, at Cleveland Arena in 1952. A dance show featuring R&B artists, it was shut down when 20,000 people without tickets showed up and tried to crash the party. Freed apologized for the mayhem, but the show caught the attention of the entertainment world and propelled him to New York City, where he hosted a late-night radio show called Rock ‘n’ Roll Party.

   He appeared in movies with top acts of the day, including Clyde McPhatter, Ritchie Valens, The Platters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, Johnny Burnette, Eddie Cochran, The Flamingos, The Moonglows, Brook Benton, LaVern Baker, Lionel Hampton, Ferlin Husky, and Jackie Wilson. These films were often welcomed with tremendous enthusiasm by teenagers because they brought visual depictions of their favorite American acts to the big screen, years before music videos.

   One of Freed’s most enduring legacies was his effort to promote music across color lines. He began taking black and white artists on the road for popular shows. It drew the ire of the white establishment, which accused him of promoting race mixing and lascivious behavior. Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks later called Freed a person who broke down racial barriers.

   Alan Freed’s career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s. He died a broken man in Palm Springs in 1965 at age 43 of liver failure. This weekend, the broadcasting legend returned home for the last time.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at 10:47 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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