This webpage is a collection of Alan Freed clippings and images from various newspapers, as well as The Cash Box and Billboard magazines, for the time period 1956.
Also includes VIDEO near bottom of the page.
GAZETTE AND DAILY (YORK, PA), January 16, 1956:
....Alan Freed, the famous rock 'n' roll disc jockey, is in Hollywood to make a film titled (oddly enough) "Rock Around The Clock". Columbia will do it and Freed will star....
JANUARY 1956: FREED CLEFFER OF NEW HERALD SINGLE
NEW YORKRhythm and blues spinner Alan Freed, of radio indie WINS here, is fast gaining stature as one of the most prolific cleffers around. This week's release of Faye Adams' Herald slicing "Teenage Heart", marks the 15th recording in little more than a year of tunes carrying credits for composer Freed.
The others are "Sincerely", "Most Of All", "The Verdict", "Maybelline", "Come Back Maybelline", "In Love", "Nadine", "Afraid", "A Million Thanks", "Special Delivery", "Tempting", "Starlite", "Very Truly Yours", and "Darling, Listen To The Words Of This Song".
FEBRUARY 1956: CORAL HYPOES R&B BID WITH INKING OF FREED
NEW YORKCoral Records, one of the first major labels to break thru with r&b-styled pop hits (such as the McGuire Sisters' "Sincerely", among others), has inked Alan Freed to an exclusive disking deal. The move, finalized by Coral Records' artist and repertoire topper Bob Thiele this week, marks the label's first full-scale venture into the straight r&b field. Freed's new pact requires the WINS jockey to cut four albums the first year and several singles....
ABOVE LEFT: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, March 16, 1956.
ABOVE RIGHT: HARTFORD COURANT, March 25, 1956: AT STATE TODAY
Alan Freed (upper left), billed as "King of Rock 'N Roll" features his "Rock 'N Roll Revue" and 50 top entertainers, at the State Theater, for the last times today. Headlining is Fats Domino, who sings his top hits, "Bo Weevil", "Don't Blame It On Me", "Ain't It A Shame", and numerous others.
Co-headlining are The Teenagers with Frankie Lymon, who gained fame with "Why Do Fools Fall In Love"; The Flamingos, singing stars of "I'll Be Home"; Sam "The Man" Taylor, famous sax-jazzman; and Big Al Sears "Mr. Castle Rock" himself.
Also appearing are many noted "Rock 'N Roll" stars including The Rover Boys, offering "Come To Me"; Dori Anne Gray, "Heartbreak Alley"; Freddy Mitchell, singing "Earthquake Boogie"; and the exciting Alan Freed and his 18-man "Rock 'N Roll" Band. Performances are continuous.
DAILY NEWS, March 20, 1956:
Count Basie and Alan Freed will be at the helm of a new CBS-Radio jazz series "Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party", premiering Saturday night at 9....
ABOVE LEFT: DAILY NEWS, March 25, 1956.
ABOVE RIGHT: DAILY NEWS, March 29, 1956'
PITTSBURGH COURIER, March 31, 1956: BROOKLYN GETS ROCK 'N' ROLL SHOW
NEW YORKAlan Freed brings his "Rock 'n' Roll Revue" into the Brooklyn Paramount for Easter jubilation. The show stars the Platters, the Teenagers, the Flamingoes, the Rover Boys, the Willows, the Royal Tones, Dori Anne Gray, Ruth McFaddden, the Jodimars, the Valentines, Cindy and Lindy, the Cleftones, and the rock 'n' roll maestro himself, Alan Freed, afront an orchestra featuring Sam "The Man" Taylor and Big Al Sears.
WILLIAMSBURG NEWS, March 31, 1956: ROCK 'N' ROLL STAGE SHOW AT PARAMOUNT
NEW YORKAlan Freed has surrounded himself with the top radio and recording rock 'n' roll performers, such as the Platters, who's two records, "The Great Pretender" and "That Magic Touch", are great hits; the Teenagers, who's hit song "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" is a current favorite; the Rover Boys, who recorded "Come To Me"; the Flamingos' "I'll Be Home"; and the Willows' "Church Bells May Ring".
Also the Royaltones' great record "Crazy Love"; Dori Anne Gray, the "Tears For Me" girl; Ruth McFadden's "Darling, Listen To The Words Of This Song"; the Jodimars' "Well Now, Dig This"; the Valentines, famous for "Lily Maebelle" and "I Love You Darling"; Cindy and Lindy singing their great hit "Let's Go Steady"; and the Cleftones, whose song "You Baby You" is at the top of the pile; plus Alan Freed's great 18-man band starring Sam "The Man" Taylor and Big Al Sears.
APRIL 7, 1956: FRANTIC FREED FANS TIE-UP TRAFFIC AS EASTER SHOW SETS NEW RECORD
NEW YORKDeejay Alan Freed and his latest rock 'n' roll rumpus at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater was literally a record-breaking, traffic-stopping affair this week. The jock's "Easter Jubilee Of Stars" broke his own house record and caused local police to suspend traffic operations around the theater at times because of the block-long ticket lines.
Management estimated a $240,000 net for the ten-day stand, with tickets upped from $1.25 to $2 early in the run, and shows skedded at the rate of six and seven a day.
....At the show caught, Freed limited himself to brief intros for the acts, which, in turn, were limited to short time periods, thus giving the show a fast pace and an exciting up-tempo thruout. The show relied heavily on vocal groups....
ABOVE LEFT: DAILY NEWS, April 12, 1956:
Kids whoop it up at disk jockey Alan Freed's rock 'n' roll show at Brooklyn Paramount. Ten-day performance grossed $204,000, an all-time high for the theatre.
ABOVE RIGHT: DAILY NEWS, April 12, 1956:
Alan Freed, the King of Rock 'N Roll.
ABOVE LEFT: CHARLOTTE NEWS, March 31, 1956.
ABOVE RIGHT: JOURNAL HERALD, July 24, 1956.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
Alan Freed's Camel Rock And Roll Dance Party With Ivory Joe Hunter, The Five Keys And Chuck Willis, July 24, 1956.
LUBBOCK MORNING AVALANCHE, April 14, 1956: 8:00-8:30 P.M. ROCK 'N' ROLL
A new musical series, starring Alan Freed as host, features the famed Count Basie Orchestra and vocalist Joe Williams. Also, each week's broadcast will showcase one or more special guest stars. Tonight's stars are LaVern Baker and The Teenagers.
AT RIGHT: "I Love Paris" Spark 78-rpm record label image. This song was recorded by The Robins. The record was released in March 1955.
The Robins consisted of Bobby Nunn, Billy Richard, Grady Chapman, Ty Terrell, Roy Richard, and Carl Gardner.
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
Alan Freed's Camel Rock And Roll Dance Party With LaVern Baker And The Teenagers, April 14, 1956.
DAILY NEWS, April 18, 1956: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
MANHATTAN: Your writer Jess Stearn's article on Rock 'n' Roll made me sick. It is clear in my mind that he is against Rock 'n' Roll and also against a very nice man, Alan Freed. Just because a few crazy teenagers cause trouble is no reason to take it out on the rest of us teenagers. I never read such a one-sided story in all my life. BARBARA MAGNUSON
THE BILLBOARD, April 28, 1956: FREED REPLIES TO ROCK 'N' ROLL PRESS SLURS
NEW YORKGroggy but game and still reeling from various editorial punches delivered against it, as a supposed "inciter" of juvenile delinquencyrock 'n' roll was on its feet again last week and in there swinging on its detractors.
CBS-TV took the lead last Sunday on news commentator Eric Sevareid's program, which allowed rock 'n' roll's kingpin deejay, Alan Freed (WINS, here), a primary target for recent anti-rock 'n' roll press blasts, to state his case.
The show also screened film clips taken during a rock and roll show at a Camden, N.J., theater, and interviewed teenagers in the audience. The kids, not too surprisingly, were all in favor of rock 'n' roll and denied it was a bad influence. Sevareid also queried a couple of psychiatrists, who opined that teenage riots at rock and roll shows are symptomatic of something wrong with the kids' home environment, rather than due to any evil in rock and roll. A surprise guest on the program was Mitch Miller, hardly a rock 'n' roll man, himself. Columbia's artist and repertoire chief stated "You can't call any music immoral. If anything is wrong with rock and roll, it is that it makes a virtue out of monotony".
Freed's remarks on the Sevareid show parallel those he made earlier in the week on his WINS Radio show here, an answer to an anti-rock 'n' roll series of articles, which ran in the New York Daily News last Wednesday and Thursday. In a special plea to "mom and dad", Freed claimed that many of the current press stories about rock 'n' roll inciting riots are grossly exaggerated, including those circulated recently about his own shows at the Brooklyn Paramount and the State Theater in Hartford, Connecticut.
Freed reminded the parents of their own (and his) teenage years, when Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller were to them what rock 'n' roll artists are to youngsters today. He noted that the Daily News article failed to make any mention of his recent campaign to raise funds to fight the childhood disease nephrosis, When 11,000 rock 'n' roll fans turned out for him one rainy Saturday morning to distribute 500,000 cards for the cause.
Freed was particularly burned at a trade paper editor's quote, to the effect that "maybe the record makers and disc jockeys responsible for promoting this music may soon be crawling back under their rocks". Freed attributed the remark to the fact that the editor is "a sensational headline seeker these days and also a frustrated songwriter".
Noting that he had been deluged with mail of protest against The Daily News series, he concluded, "As long as there are radio stations like this in America, and as long as there are people who like me around, we're going to rock 'n' roll until you don't want to rock 'n' roll anymore, and then when you don't want to rock 'n' roll anymore, I'll give you what you want".
Meanwhile, the rock 'n' roll controversy continues to snowball in the press. Time Magazine is readying a feature on it, and Look Magazine also has a spread coming up on the phenomenon.
Up in Boston, WBZ aired an hour-long documentary on rock 'n' roll Sunday afternoon, with anti-rock 'n' roll opinions expressed by Monsignor John B. Carroll, Director of the Catholic Youth Organization of the Archdiocese (e.g. "There is not doubt but that the by-product of rock and roll has left a scar on youth"), and pro-statements by Duke Ellington (e.g. "Hypnotic effect? Of course not! It's the publicity.") WBZ deejay Alan Dary also appeared and interviewed a panel of four teenagers on the subject. Other guests included Cecil Stein, who distributes rock 'n' roll discs in Boston, Reverend Norman J. O'Connor, who sketched in the historical background of rock 'n' roll, and local radio and TV columnists.
It's difficult to calculate just how much damage has been done to rock 'n' roll at this time. On one hand, the networks are just beginning to go into the field, while on the other, some of the rock 'n' roll packages on the road are finding it tough box-office sledding, since the pressure was put on by the press. "Rock-A-Rama", for instance, the Buck Ram-Joe Delaney package, had to be approved by civic officials in practically every town it played before it was allowed to go on as scheduled in theaters during its recent trip through Connecticut and New Jersey. In some cities, the police reportedly were so jumpy, they even frowned when the kids applauded the acts.
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, May 16, 1956: NO HARM SEEN IN ROCK AND ROLL
The men and women who advise our high school youngsters laugh at complaints being heard throughout the country that "rock and roll" is ruining our youngsters. School counselors here are of the opinion that the music itself is of no harm to the children, but the environment in which they get the rock and roll is not always very good.
The king of rock and roll disc jockeys, former Akronite Alan Freed, is currently waging a verbal war with some New York newspapers that take the stand rock and roll is immoral. Freed, generally credited with originating the rock and roll term, says newspaper stories about such music inciting riots are grossly exaggerated.
First, we must examine what rock and roll is. I talked to several Akron bandsmen on the subject and each admitted it was practically impossible to put a definition of the phrase into words. The definition is even more difficult because the public and songwriters put that name on all kinds of music.
Jazz is sometimes confused with rock and roll. But the two are far apart. Top jazz artists such as Stan Getz and Dave Brubeck will have nothing to do with rock and roll. And youngsters who like rock and roll usually will have nothing to do with jazz. Actually, it's a type of rhythm that combines hillbilly music with the rhythm and blues tunes of 25 years ago. It's loudand it's different. In fact, that's the key to the thing. It's different.
Every generation seems to go through one fad or another. If it isn't the Charleston, it's something else. Most of those musical fans have something in commonnone is really originaland most of them died a rapid death. Rock and roll is fading in Akron according to some disc jockeys. Management of the Palace Theater, which has been laying an egg with its "Rock 'n' Roll Revue" on the stage, will attest to that.
Some of the biggest names in rock and roll have appeared there for the past week and the turnout has been dismally small. There was talk around town that the appearance of a rock and roll revue might incite riots in Akron. The audiences at the palace have been no more unruly than those at any show that appeals to teenagers.
But apparently the high school advisors were not surprised in the least. Here is a comment I received from a counselor when asked if they thought rock and roll was harmful:
"Rock and roll is good and wholesome exercise, if it is found in an atmosphere that is conducive to good citizenship. We adults have a tendency to frown on it, send it off in the corner. As a result, you find it mostly in the wilder night clubs. Youngsters may follow it into places that are harmful. If you turn the leadership of our youngsters over to the musicians found in these places, the results may be bad".
JULY 7, 1956: FREED PLANS EUROPEAN TOUR; WINS EXTENDS HIS TIME SLOT
NEW YORKDeejay Alan Freed is laying plans to present an all-star stage revue of rock 'n' roll talent at London England's Albert Hall in late October or early Novemberthis in response to his strong mail pull on his rock 'n' roll show beamed on Radio Luxembourg abroad.
Meanwhile Freed's local record show over WINS has been extended an additional 12 hours a week, starting Monday. The jockey heretofore aired 6:30-9 p.m., will be heard from 6:30 to 11 p.m., taking over the late night time from Birdland. Freed will shortly do most of his shows from his new country home, which has been equiped with special remote broadcasting facilities....
....We learn that Toni Bruce, Alan Freed's daughter, has formed a new record company, Tetra Records. Firm has already released its first disks, "Angel Face" by The Neons and "Go Cat Go" by rock-a-billy Bill Flagg....
PITTSBURGH SUN, July 21, 1956: IVORY JOE HUNTER ON KQV TUESDAY
Blues singer "Ivory Joe" Hunter, who recently played the Rock 'n' Roll Room here, heads the guest list for "Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party" Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on KQV. Host Alan Freed also will welcome Chuck Willis and The Five Keys for live performances, with Sam "The Man" Taylor and his band.
KINGS COUNTY CHRONICLE, July 31, 1956: ROCK AND ROLL AND HOW IT ALL STARTED BACK IN 1951....BY ALAN FREED
The "Rock 'n' Roll Rhapsody", a composition by George Armand and K. Leslie, has signaled that rock 'n' roll has assumed a position of stature in this era of music business. This art form, which has been satirized by comedians and analyzed by psychiatrists, has been immortalized on record by Joe Reichman's Orchestra.
Needless to say, I'm overjoyed to hear this and perhaps immodest enough to say, "I told you so". On second thought, I must give way to reminiscences about the first time I presented rock 'n' roll music on a radio station.
It was 1951. I had a program on WJW, a Cleveland station. The program music, believe it or not, was classical. A friend, who owns a record shop, suggested that I visit his store. He said I might see something unusual. I accepted the invitation and had one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. There were dozens of kids having a wonderful time listening to the records of some of the people who were destined to become the very top performers in the idiom.
As a matter of fact, it was under these conditions that I first heard Sam (The Man) Taylor, who was to become the musical director of my band on CBS Radio's "Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party". I asked some of the kids buying records at this shop. It became apparent that they were not only from the immediate neighborhood, but from all parts of town.
I asked some of the kids, who came from all parts of town, what they thought about this "new" music. They said it was the beat, the rich excitement the singers and instrumentalists provided. I listened. I heard the songs of such artists as LaVern Baker and Della Reese, two girls with real contralto voices who know how to tell a story. I heard the tenor saxophones of "Red" Prysock and "Big Al" Sears. I heard the blues-singing, piano-playing "Ivory Joe" Hunter. I wondered.
I wondered for about a week, then I went to the station manager and talked him into permitting me to follow my classical program with a rock 'n' roll party. Well, that program hit the town like a World Series winner. So many fans were coming down to the studio to hear the records, meet Jackie, my wife and chief advisor, and me, that we decided to hire a hall and ask some of the rock 'n' roll artists over for a show. Over 25,000 turned out for the first rock 'n' roll party. That beginning has since paled against the millions of rock 'n' roll fans spread throughout the world.
The climax of rock 'n' roll popularity has been reached by the coast to coast CBS Radio broadcast of the "Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party", the first "live" network radio program aired under the sponsorship of a national product. And the fan mail we get from all around the country is an even match in excitement and a true barometer for the new and exciting beat that has swept the country.
As my friend Mitch Miller says, "Rock 'n' roll music is like comic strips in the newspapers. The kids have a right to it. It takes its place for them among all the other musical forms. But I think the reason that rock 'n' roll is popular with the kids is that it represents a safe form of rebellion against authority. Also, it has contributed somethinga prominent beatwhich reminds us in the music business that rhythm can't be ignored". I agree with Mitch. As long as the kids want rock 'n' roll, I'm going to give it to them, and as soon as they indicate they want something else, I'm going to give them that.
ABOVE: OTTAWA CITIZEN, August 4, 1956: DEFENDER OF THE NEW MUSIC
Alan Freed, who started Rock 'n' Roll Party program, comments "It's good for them to get it out of their system".
PITTSBURGH COURIER (IZZY ROWE'S NOTEBOOK), August 11, 1956: MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY....BY ALAN FREED
NEW YORKI am very grateful to Izzy Rowe for the opportunity of helping to clear the air concerning the impact of rock 'n' roll music on American teenagers. I'm certain that none of the Courier's readers have escaped seeing the big headline stories about the horrible corruption of today's teenagers because they listen to, enjoy, and buy rock 'n' roll records. Stories of riots, stories of violence, stories so diabolically conceived that tens of thousands of parents actually believe that rock 'n' roll music leads children to juvenile delinquency... And oh, how overused that term is becoming. But what is the truth?
Well, I know the truth and I'm going to tell it as I know itbecause I'm closer to it than anyone else in America. I gave rock 'n' roll music its present name back in 1951 in Cleveland, and I was the first to expose it in its present form on this city's top 50,000-watt independent station, WINS, in September 1954.
I was the first to produce gigantic rock 'n' roll revues and dances, starting in Cleveland in 1952 when 30,000 people turned out in the arena for a dance, culminating in the largest gross in the history of Paramount Theaters anywhere in America. That includes the records of Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Martin and Lewis, or anyone else who had great successes with Paramount.
The big reason was rock 'n' roll and the big reason for the success of rock 'n' roll is millions of America's teenagers of every race, creed, and color. The success didn't come easily to rock 'n' roll. It was hard-fought and hard-won. It has struggled its way through decades from the river levees and plantations of the South. It has been abused and tormented far worse than any musical form in history. But it has survived and has erupted on the American musical scene with greater force than any form of jazz or syncopated music for dancing ever. Why? Well, simply because it's so infectious, so soul-stirring that anyone who has ever had any communication with music can feel it and understand it.
As Louis Armstrong says about jazz in any form, "Man, it's got to tell the truth". And that's why rock 'n' roll is musically the greatest thing in life, and not all rock 'n' roll lyrics make sense, but, by and large, the simplicity and truth of the lyric message conveyed and the stirring infectiousness of its big beat cannot be denied. This generation of kids has taken rock 'n' roll to its heart and has adopted rock 'n' roll as it's music, and let me tell you, no one is going to take it away from the kids, and you can count on that!
Rock 'n' roll, or rhythm and blues as it was called before, used to be, for the greater part, strictly limited in its appeal. The record companies and the radio stations who exposed it we're only aiming for the Negro market. Then, suddenly, overnight, through greater exposure in the New York market over WINS, the record companies and the musical world in general were astounded to find what they considered only the musical desire of one race of people was in fantastic demand by teenagers of all races and colors. This is unbelievable! This couldn't be! But it was happening so fast that most of the major record companies were caught completely unprepared for this sudden change of taste of 90 per cent of America's top record-buyers... the kids.
The top music publishers and licensing firms were finding their top writers' songs we're being ignored by the kids in favor of the big beat of rock 'n' roll. I'll tell you when I first began to see what direction the wind was going to blow. It was shortly after the first rock 'n' roll songs had made their way into the coveted and hallowed sanctum of the Top Ten songs in Americasongs written by unknowns, recorded by unknowns, published by unknown new publishers.
There suddenly appeared in Variety Magazine a series of articles written by Abel Green, editor of the trade paper which, not modestly, calls itself "The Bible of Show Business", but which in most circles is not looked upon as even a first grade primer when it comes to charts and surveys. The series was called "Leer-ics" and called attention to the horrible, filthy lyrics of rock 'n' roll songs. I said to myself "Oh, oh, look out, here it comes!" And it did!
Every newspaper in America picked up the series and reprinted it. The hue and cry was raised. The church pulpits barked out sermons warning parents to keep rock 'n' roll lyrics away from the kiddies. Mr. Green, however, failed to print any rock 'n' roll lyrics in his wailings. That was when I knew the battle lines have been formed. Abel Green blamed rock 'n' roll songs for every dirty lyric in pop music. Ah, ha!
Variety Magazine has always prided itself on its promotion and propaganda pieces for the American Society of Composers and Publishers, a dictorial society set up to maintain the prevention of cruelty to a small group of song-writers and publishers and it's small group of banks with millions of dollars in them, by other writers of songs (starving to death) and other publishers, ditto, and radio stations. But, years ago, the broadcast industry asserted itself and set up its own music licensing society called Broadcast Music, Inc. Wow! What a commotion! Variety Magazine hollered foul, but the broadcast industry won.
Today, BMI is a tremendous organization in which any writer who can prove his worth and any publisher who has anything to offer, constructively, is welcomed into the firm. Now, where's the tie in with rock 'n' roll? Right there! Next week I shall go deeper into this situation and tell why I think that the NAACP should take steps to halt the untruth and distortions concerning rock 'n' roll music. It's time to fight back and tell off those whose main aim is to kill a music originated by the American Negro.
PITTSBURGH COURIER (IZZY ROWE'S NOTEBOOK), August 18, 1956: THE BIG BEAT (PART TWO)....BY ALAN FREED
NEW YORKFrom the very beginning, there was an insidious plot against this music. The seed of the plot was nurtured by disgruntled managers of stars, who suddenly heard its encroachment seeping through the windows of their ivory towers... I repeat: WOW! What a commotion! It was felt in every direction, the Hit ParadeThe National Top Ten Listings. And it's repeated performances cut a deep salient into the annual pay ratings of composers who stayed off the beat. Up until rock 'n' roll exploded on the scene in 1954, ASCAP refused to publish any rhythm and blues songs. BMI had always accepted good rhythm and blues songs into its firm.
Suddenly, the brass at ASCAP looked up and found too many BMI songs finding their way into the TOP TEN, and wanted to know why! Oh, no. Not rhythm and blues songs! But this can't be! And the battle was on. The statements came from the old-line, blue-blood music publishers that this rock 'n' roll stuff is only a fad and will soon be forgotten. The funerals were held and so were the wakes. But somehow, the corpse always spoiled the fun. They sniped at it. They twisted it. They flailed at it. But the body refused to be buried. And the faces were getting red.
Next time you're near a newsstand, pick up a copy of Variety Magazine, a copy of Billboard Magazine, and a copy of the Cash Box Magazine and read through them all. In Variety, you'll find maybe a dozen articles about rock 'n' roll violence, rock 'n' roll delinquency, rock 'n' roll dope addicts, rock 'n' roll kid drunkards, rock 'n' roll music banned, rock 'n' roll blamed for the Suez Canal crisis, rock 'n' roll type thieves hold up jewelry store, rock 'n' roll fans picked up at party for playing Elvis Presley records while drinking beer, rock 'n' roll music blamed for every instance of juvenile crime... So reported at the recent meeting of the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association (and this last morsel actually happened at the meeting in Pittsburgh by a bunch of characters appointed to guard our life and limb, the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association......THE... WHAAAT?).
Leaf through Cash Box magazine and read true stories about rock 'n' roll. Read about 60 one-nighters through the country by America's top rock 'n' roll stars, playing to all-time record throngs. To well-behaved, happy youngsters without one single incident happening, other than kids dancing in the aisles. Read about how the kids are staying home, listening and dancing to rock 'n' roll music instead of roaming the streets looking for trouble. Read about hundreds of Negro artists and musicians who are working today and respected and looked up to by the finest clubs and locations in the country because of the great popularity of rock 'n' roll. You'll find the same story in Billboard Magazine.
Why the difference in the stories in Variety? Because there's an axe to grind with Variety because of ASCAP and the sudden prominence of BMI. I don't say you have to like rock 'n' roll music because no doubt that a lot of it has been degrading lyric wise in the past. But what about some of the so-called pop songs like "Love for Sale", "Temptation", "Let's Do It" and others. You may not like rock 'n' roll, but you do like fair play.
The newspapers are playing along because tying in any controversy with juvenile delinquency makes for great headlines and circulation and for their own shortcomings in dealing with the problems of today's youth. Rock 'n' roll has been a wonderful relief for our kids and a great thing for the deserving artists and musicians who make it possible. Let's start to dig for the facts and listen to only the real truth about rock 'n' roll.
The reason I stated last week that the NAACP should delve into this situation is that because the powers that be have associated rock 'n' roll with the Negro. Because of that every time these glaring headlines cry crime the rest of the country gets the idea that the Negro is mixed up in something else. In many cases, they're using this to further their resistance to full integration while attempting to deny the Negro his full share of the theatrical spotlight.
The only basis for the fight against this music is that not only has it stepped into high places, both at home and abroad, but it has given a stature to Negro artists who have been denied the present marquee heights they now enjoy. Rock 'n' roll is here to stay and will be accepted wherever there are ears to hear this grand new big sound.
ABOVE: DAILY NEWS, August 27, 1956.
AT LEFT: BROOKLYN DAILY, August 29, 1956.
CONEY ISLAND TIMES, September 1, 1956: STAGE AND SCREEN SHOW NOW AT B'KLN PARAMOUNT
On stage, in person, Alan Freed and his 2nd Anniversary "Rock 'N' Roll" show, one of the greatest stage attractions of its kind, will be the next attraction at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre for nine big days, which began Wednesday, August 29th thru Sept. 6th....
Alan Freed has surrounded himself with the top radio and recording rock 'n' roll performers, such as Fats Domino & His Orch. (The Fabulous Fat Man From New Orleans), Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Joe Turner (The Boss Of The Blues), The Cleftones, The Penguins, The Harptones, Jimmy Cavallo & His House Rockers, Mabel King, Jean Chapel, Cirino & The Bowties, and Alan Freed and his big Rock 'N' Roll Band featuring Big Al Sears, Jimmy Wright, Freddy Mitchell and Panama Francis....
OTTAWA CITIZEN, September 15, 1956:
New York Rock 'n' Roll deejay Alan Freed's latest review rocked the cash register at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater to the tune of $222,000 for a nine day stint just finished.
THE CASH BOX, September 15, 1956: ALAN FREED DOES SENSATIONAL $220,000 FOR NINE-DAY STAND AT BROOKLYN PARAMOUNT
NEW YORKAlan Freed once again put to rest the stories that continue to bounce up that the rhythm and blues influence on pop music has shot its bolt, by turning a nine-day stand at the Brooklyn Paramount into a record-breaking box office magnet.
Freed, playing five to six shows daily, pulled in $220,000, which is in all likelihood the nation's theater record for a nine-day stand. At prices that range from $1.50 to $2.50, Freed was able to pull in the same physical attendance in nine days that he had previously played to in ten days last Easter. However, with the $2.50 top for weekend night performances, his gross of $220,000 set a new dollar record.
Starting on a Wednesday, the box office totaled approximately $16,000, picked up on Thursday to $18,000, Friday, $19,000, did a whopping approximately $100,000 for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and closed out the final three days with an average of $20,000 to $21,000.
Contrary to many similar type shows throughout the country, the Brooklyn Paramount continues to keep its record clean as the show closed its stay with not one incident to blemish its record. Gene Pleshette, manager, had prepared with a strong force of special police augmented by a full staff of usher's and city police. The teeners, in the main, proved to be an orderly, well-mannered group, and the occasional "dead actor", who stepped out of line, was ejected with such dispatch that most of the audience did not know anything had happened.
Pleshette stated that discussions are now under way for the return of an Alan Freed Show for the Christmas holidays. After a short rest, Freed plans a trip to Hollywood, where he will make his third picture.
The Alan Freed Show consisted of Fats Domino, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, Big Joe Turner, the Cleftones, the Penguins, the Harptones, Jimmy Cavallo, Mabel King, Jean Chapel, Cirino and The Bowties, Big Al Sears, Jimmy Wright, Freddie Mitchell, and Panama Francis.
STAR GAZETTE, September 30, 1956: DISC JOCKEY IN 2ND FILM
HOLLYWOODAlan Freed, leading disc jockey exponent of rock and roll rhythms, over New York Radio Station WINS, has been signed for a starring role in "Rhythm And Blues". Freed, who also was starred in (producer Sam) Katzman's previous rock and roll picture "Rock Around The Clock", again joins Bill Haley and His Comets, top-ranking band. (NOTE: The name of this movie was later changed to "Don't Knock The Rock".)
NOVEMBER 10, 1956: "ROCK, ROCK, ROCK", NEW FREED PIC PREEMS EARLY DEC. IN 70 HOUSES
NEW YORKDeejay Alan Freed's second feature film, "Rock, Rock, Rock", will be launched simultaneously in 70 New York theaters December 5. The rock and roll jockey (WINS-here) should be rolling in the long green with his new venture. In addition to owning 10 percent of the film outright, Freed plays a leading role and publishes 15 songs from the 21-tune picture score in his Snapper Music firm....Freed will appear on stage personally at most of the theaters during the picture's run here from December 5 thru December 8, and if union regulations permit, he will present a live show at the same time....
ABOVE LEFT: HARTFORD COURANT, November 4, 1956.
ABOVE RIGHT: CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, December 23, 1956.
DAILY NEWS, December 4, 1956: ROCK 'N' ROLLERS
Alan Freed, along with Rock 'n' Roll singers Chuck Berry and Connie Francis, will make personal appearances at 16 Loew's Theatres in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Westchester on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
ABOVE LEFT: SIOUX CITY JOURNAL, December 16, 1956: RKO ORPHEUM
Alan Freed, King of Rock 'n' Roll, with a large cast of stars and 21 new song hits, appear in Rock, Rock, Rock, starting Wednesday at RKO Orpheum Theater.
ABOVE RIGHT: DAILY NEWS, October 1, 1956.
ABOVE: HUNTSVILLE TIMES, October 14, 1956:
Johnny Johnston, Lisa Gray, Bill Haley, Earl Barton, Henry Slade, and Alan Freed get together for a little singing in "Rock Around The Clock", showing tonight at Woody's Drive-In Theater.
ABOVE LEFT: DAILY NEWS, December 7, 1956: LOEW'S THEATRES ARE ROCKING
LaVern Baker, accompanied by Jimmy Wright, performs in "Rock, Rock, Rock", a film musical playing the Loew's neighborhood circuit. Alan Freed and a host of Rock 'n' Roll personalities, including Chuck Berry, The Moonglows, and Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, are featured.
ABOVE RIGHT: BROOKLYN DAILY, December 20, 1956: RETURNING TO PARAMOUNT
Alan Freed, who will bring his famous Rock 'n' Roll stage show back to the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre for eight days starting Sunday.
NEW YORK AGE, December 15, 1956: ALAN FREED HEADS B'KLN R&B BILL
Brooklyn Paramount Theater's managing director, Gene Pleshette, announced that a star studded Rock 'n' Roll stage show and screen play will move into the theater Sunday, Dec. 23, for eight days. The holiday stage show will feature some of the country's top Rock 'n' Roll stars.
Alan Freed and his band, featuring Sam "The Man" Taylor, Al Sears, Jimmy Wright, and Panama Francis, will head the stage show. Rounding out the bill will be The Moonglows, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Mac Curtis, Lillian Briggs, Eddie Cooley And The Dimples, George Hamilton IV, The Heartbeats, The Dells, The Three Friends, Jessie Belvin, The G-Clefs, and Bobbie Gaye.
ABOVE LEFT: NEW YORK AGE, December 8, 1956.
ABOVE RIGHT: DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE, December 18, 1956.
VIDEOEXCERPTS FROM THE 1956 MOVIE "ROCK, ROCK, ROCK":
("Rock 'N' Roll Boogie" by Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Band, featuring Jimmy Wright on saxophone, and "I Knew From The Start" by The Moonglows, with Bobby Lester singing lead.)
WATCHEXCERPTS FROM ROCK, ROCK, ROCK
DECEMBER 30, 1956: FREED'S GALA R&R HOLIDAY SHOW GROSSES $164,000 AT B'KLN PARAMOUNT
NEW YORKThose crystal ball gazers who predicted that 1956 was the high point of the "Big Beat" and that from herein it was all down-hill may yet be proven correct one of these years. But right now, if Alan Freed's newest stint at the Brooklyn Paramount, covering the eight days of the Christmas vacation, is any criteria, R&R is still a pretty healthy baby.
Freed pulled in a socko $164,000 with a bill which included acts such as Shirley and Lee, the Moonglows, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Jesse Belvin, the G-Clefs, the Heartbeats, the Three Friends, and the Dells. The WINS jock accomplished his impressive showing despite several days of bad weather plus having to compete with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day holidays, and to a lesser degree with his own flick "Rock, Rock, Rock", which was being shown around town....
On Friday, December 28, Freed set an all-time weekday record at the Brooklyn Paramount when he pulled in $27,200. Freed is set again for the same theater for ten days starting on Good Friday and running through Easter vacation.
Last Updated: 5/23/20
E-mail: PART FIVE (1957 - 1958) HISTORY.