Tag Archives: rock & roll

21 November: Freed fall

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records---whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed's patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records—whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed’s patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Alan Freed: The Final Words on ABC (WABC, 1959)

This is not goodbye, it’s just good night. Alan Freed’s customary on-air sign-off carries an ominous tone tonight. He may or may not know it as he says it, but his career as a radio big-timer is about to end, six years before his life itself will.

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19 May: It isn’t goodnight for Alan Freed; it’s a long, painful goodbye

Alan Freed, near the height of his career, circa 1955-56. (Photo: WINS.)

Alan Freed, near the height of his career, circa 1955-56. (Photo: WINS.)

He coined the term “rock and roll” (perhaps inspired by the use of the phrase in Billy Ward and the Dominos’ suggestive rhythm and blues hit “Sixty Minute Man”) and he was often considered its father. And yet there have been those who have pondered whether Alan Freed came to it at first for love or for the cash register. Nelson George, in his remarkable The Death of Rhythm & Blues (New York: Pantheon, 1988), isolated that thought among others:

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