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Alan Freed :: Blog

The Lost Photographs of Cleveland Deejay Tommy Edwards

Thursday, January 12: 4 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Tommy Edwards (center) with the Everly Brothers

Many know that rock and roll was christened in Cleveland, Ohio, when DJ Alan Freed coined the phrase to describe the up-tempo R&B music he was beaming out on his popular radio show. Freed opened the doors for countless artists, and for years was the de facto king of rock and roll. But fewer know about the cadre of revolutionary Cleveland disc jockeys who shared the airwaves with Freed. Among them was Tommy Edwards. 

Edwards, who owned a prominent record store, pressed records and was a disc jockey at WERE 1300 AM, was instrumental in bringing Elvis Presley to Cleveland in 1955 for his first performance north of the Mason-Dixon line. Pat Boone headlined the concert, and the supporting bill included Bill Haley and the Comets, the Four Lads, Priscilla Wright and a largely unknown Presley. It was there that Edwards snapped the famous photograph of Presley with Haley, one of the few times the two met. The show was not held in a grand concert hall or big-ticket venue, but in a suburb of Cleveland at Brooklyn High School. The now mythical performance is rumored to have been captured in vivid Technicolor, and dubbed The Pied Piper ...


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Today In Rock: Alan Freed is Born

Thursday, December 15: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Alan Freed

On December 15, 1921, Albert James Freed – the man who famously christened a radical new form of music as "rock 'n' roll" - was born near Johnston, Pennsylvania. Moving to Salem, Ohio, with his family at age 12, Alan (as he was better known) Freed spent his formative years in the Buckeye State, eventually attending Ohio State, where the campus radio station piqued a fascination with radio that would stay with him through all his days. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

By the early 1950s, Freed had settled in to a new DJ position in Cleveland, playing R&B records during a segment sponsored by friend and local record shop owner Leo Mintz, whose inner city store, Record Rendezvous, was selling many records by burgeoning R&B artists. "I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1950, '51, '52," said noted DJ and rock and roll historian Norm N. Nite during the first Hall of Fame Inductions in 1986. "I listened to Alan Freed playing those records on the Moondog show. I knew at that particular time that  it was something special that was going on." It was during this time that Freed first ...


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