15 December 1921
Windber, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, United States
20 January 1965 (aged 43)
Alan Freed was a groundbreaking, influential and opportunistic DJ, first in Cleveland Ohio and later New York who is credited for bringing rock n roll to a wider, multi-racial audience in the segregated 1950's. Beginning in 1951 on WJW he hosted the nocturnal 'Moondog' show, & began promoting big multi act showcases that brought as many as 25,000 teens to venues to see the hot acts of the day. His influence was immense, and he helped launch the act The Moonglows, sharing dubious songwriting credits on some of their biggest hits. Freed, who moved to New York and into national television as well at the height of his fame, soon caught flack for an ABC tv show he hosted in which black singer Frankie Lymon danced with a white girl.
Despite high ratings, his radio and tv sponsorships were canceled and he bounced from station to station. He was later brought down by the payola scandals and was forced off the NY airwaves by the end of the decade. After pleading guilty in 1962 to two counts of commercial bribery and receiving a fine of three hundred dollars. Freed died a banished, broken hearted alcoholic in the relative obscurity of Palm Springs in 1965.
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