MR. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL (1958)

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Welcome to the American Photo photo blog. We colorize black & white photos for museums, educators, media . . . and families like yours.

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The year is 1958. Here’s “Mr. Rock & Roll”, disc jockey Alan Freed – also known as “The Moondog”. Alan is the man credited with giving Rock ‘N’ Roll music its name. He was a major proponent of race relations, holding shows that were attended by both blacks and whites in the 1950s, as well as preferring black music artist’s records on his radio show over the white cover versions. This practice eventually led to the U.S. government going after Freed with a vengeance.

Alan Freed’s wildly successful Cleveland radio show caught the attention of WINS radio – bringing him to New York City and a wider audience. From there, Freed moved on to New York’s 77 WABC radio – an adult radio station that would in a few short years after his 1958 arrival – become the most powerful Rock & Roll radio station in North America.

However, a year later, Alan was released from WABC, amid government charges that he’d been receiving payola for playing particular records on his show. He was convicted on two counts of commercial bribery in 1962, and fined. It was not a huge penalty – but it destroyed his reputation in the radio industry.

Alan Freed died in 1965 at the age of 43 from alcohol-related diseases – and some say, a broken heart. His legacy of launching Rock ‘N’ Roll will always be with us, and was the subject of the rockin’ 1978 film, “American Hot Wax”, starring Tim McIntire, Fran Drescher, Laraine Newman, Chuck Berry, and Jay Leno. Alan Freed was inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Long live Rock ‘N’ Roll!

At American Photo Colorizing, our goal is to shred the black & white veil that separates us from the exciting, vibrant lives of those who came before us. It’s time to “Go Color” with your vintage and antique family photos.

1958 - Alan Freed (O)

1958 - Alan Freed

Alan Freed Cincinnati 1958


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