Alan “Al. J.” Freed

Salem, Ohio historian Dale Shaffer writes: “Alan Freed made a definite mark on the world of music during his short stay of 43 years (December 15, 1921 – January 20, 1965) … Freed, who graduated from Salem High School in 1940, became a well-known radio disk jocky and was credited by many in the music field with inventing the phrase “rock n’ roll.” Then came a riot in Boston, the payola scandal and an indictment for evading income taxes. His story beings near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he was born on december 15, 1921, the son of Charles S. and Maude M. Freed…”




Alan Freed moved to Salem, Ohio as a young boy of ten years. He went by “Al. J.”, hist first self-appointed nickname, which included an extra period for emphasize the abbreviated Al. This moniker is believed to be in deference to his uncle and lyricist Al. J. Palmer who wrote “The Only Sweetheart I Eve Had.” Palmer wrote and dedicated this song to his Mother. The first hints of Freed’s desire to be a show business star surfaced in his contributions to the Junior High school newspaper, ‘The Quakerette,” followed by his involvement in high school plays and participation with the Jazz Band known as “The Sultans of Swing.” His first training in broadcastt was at a radio school in nearby Youngstown, Ohio while he was a student at Salem High School.


According to his brother, David Freed, “Alan wanted to be noticed, and always said that he wanted to live fast, die young and make a good-looking corpse.” Unfortunately, for the world, Alan’s wish was granted with his untimely death in 1965.

In 1986, alan Freed was inducted iinto the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. This was followed by the honor of a star in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1991.