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Sunday, June 04, 2006

ALAN FREED AND ROCK AND ROLL

by Jim McAllister

It’s the kids that make it work. If Benny Goodman was still alive he would tell you that statement is true after his Oakland and Los Angeles, California experiences in the late 1930's. His band was on the verge of breaking up while on a failed tour until they reached California and the ballrooms packed with kids wanting to jitterbug to Goodman’s new swinging sound. His late night broadcasts to the West Coast from New York had won them over and they were ready to party.
Rock and roll had a similar beginning since, once again, it was the kids that made it work along with help from rock and roll legendary promoter Alan Freed. Freed was born in Pennsylvania in 1922 and by the time he finished college he had developed an interest in music and radio. After World War II he went to work as a disc jockey for several stations in the Ohio-Pennsylvania area before finally ending up in Cleveland in 1949.

3 comments:

Allen J. Duffis said...

Good work again, Jim,

Sadly, th man can be summed up in such a short set of articles, simply because, like a flash, he came along at just the right time to inflict a telling and significant change upon the American social scene.

In essence he was a match, and his small but immensely telling contribution probably did more to foster racial integration than Martin Luthor King's initial efforts.

Please note also, by chance circumstance, when he relocated to New Youk City in the early 1950's, he was sort of 'forced' to coin the term "Rock & Roll."

In the Black community shopping mecca, for years there had been a patrolling 6 ft 4 albino man, who went by the name of Moon Dog.

No one really knew where he came from of if he was really White or Black, but he'd gained a sort of low level fame in newspapers and magazines due to his dress:Viking dress ware and the constant staff he carried.

When Freed started his Radio show, he used the term Moon Dogging to describe the new music he was playing (really the standrad Black Rhythm and Blues). He would howl on the radio before playing a particular tune.

From somewhere came a chorus of supporters for Moon Dog, who claimed that he had a 'natural copywrite' to the name.

So rather than fight the issue concerning a popular community icon, Freed simply changed the name of his music type to "Rocking and Rolling" music - which lasted about a week.

The public soon shortened the term to Rock & Roll, and Freed simply followed it into music history.

In my opinion, the man was crucified by the then White power structure for daring to introduce Black music to their White kids. That's all there was to it.

It was so sad to see Freed and two other DJs photographed before their arraignment on the hyped Payola charges: everyone in the industry, both then and now did it.

After all he accomplished in such a short time, he died bankrupt and alone. He should have at least had his millions of fans around him in his final hours. Then again, maybe he did.

"Rock &and Roll is here to stay, it will never end, I don't care what people say, Rock and Roll is here to stay!" Danny and the Juniors

Allen

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