Why Alan Freed Matters and the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame is Wrong
(Disclaimer: the following is my opinion and not that of Townsquare Media or 99.1 The Whale).
This week, the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame made headlines because it "evicted" Alan Freed's ashes to place a Beyonce display. Here are my thoughts, as constrained as possible, on this topic.
Are you freaking KIDDING me??? Beyonce? Tell me one major foundation shaking accomplishment she has made that has her deserving of displacing the man that created the craze around what he coined as "Rock 'n Roll !!
I am sure she is talented enough, though it's hard to tell since auto tune and processing hide flaws. But Alan Freed is the father of Rock 'n Roll.
This isn't the first time the Hall of Fame has made an ass out of themselves and the institution that is Rock 'n Roll, and it won't be the last. This is the institution that has yet to induct a major singer/songwriter that helped propel Rock 'n Roll; Paul Anka. And that is the tip of the iceberg.
I guess the powers that be there need to be schooled about Alan Freed. So here you go.
Alan Freed was a radio disc jockey who loved a good beat. At WJW in Cleveland, he hosted a popular Jazz/pop show. He used the name "Moondog" until someone in New York City sued him over the name and Freed lost.
After talking to a record store owner, Leo Mintz, about rhythm and blues music becoming so popular, Freed started playing it on WJW. He coined the term "Rock 'n Roll and also put together the first Rock 'n Roll show. Alan Freed later worked at 1010 WINS, NY before it went 24 hour news.
Freed had an upbeat fun delivery on the air and it complimented the music perfectly. Because Cleveland was a "trend" city, meaning what they did was copied by other radio stations across the country, Rock 'n Roll took off and so did the artists like Frankie Lymon, The Platters, Bill Haley & the Comets, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry. You get the idea.
Basically, without Freed, there would be no Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and the director of the HOF wouldn't have his cushy paid gig or be able to say this ridiculous statement; "Rock 'n Roll isn't just about yesterday. It continues to evolve, and we continue to embrace it and refine our operations." Thanks for that CNN.
Really, Mr. Director? So just because Alan Freed is history means he isn't as important? Really? Without the foundation, sir, you have nothing!
If people "scratch their heads" at the Freed exhibit, as I have read about the meeting between Freed's son and director Greg Harris, then the Hall isn't doing their job well enough in explaining who the hell Freed.
What's next? Putting Elvis is a back corner in favor of Jay Z? Or tossing Chuck Berry into the closet for Lady Gaga?
I think people who actually give a rip about the music should be the ones in charge of the Hall of Fame, because obviously those that currently are in charge have no clue as to what Rock 'n Roll's history means to this country's culture.
I have said my peace. What are your thoughts?