The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

back to profile

Ahmet Ertegun on Alan Freed

Everyone here tonight understands how important radio was to the birth and evolution of rock and roll. If a few broadcasters hadn't taken a chance on this crazy sound in the early '50s, a lot of great music might have never been heard. Tonight we are proud to honor the contribution of the first of these radio pioneers. I went to see Alan Freed in Cleveland in the early '50s. He was doing things I'd never seen before - rattling rattlers, singing with the record, screaming, jumping around. I said, 'My God, what's going to happen when this man hits New York?' The hot show in New York in those days - the two hot shows - were Willie and Ray - Willie Bryant and Ray Carroll, and the Symphony Sit [?] show. When they heard that Alan Freed was coming, the panic was on. He took New York by storm and took the country by storm; his all-star rock shows at the Brooklyn Paramount are now legend. I was very fortunate to be in his small circle of friends, and we had some fantastic times together. To induct Alan Freed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it is my pleasure to introduce two leading radio personalities of today, Scott Muni and Norman N. Nite."