Saturday, May 7, 2016
This is the newly-unveiled memorial over the grave of Alan Freed in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He was buried today in the cemetery.
Freed was a radio disc jockey in Cleveland in 1951 when he coined the term "rock 'n' roll". He helped organize "The Moondog Coronation Ball" on March 21, 1952, which is recognized now as the first rock and roll concert. Sadly, Freed took payoffs from record labels to play music; the "payola" scandal effectively ended his career in 1959.
Freed sank into alcoholism and died in Palm Springs, California, on January 20, 1965, from uremia and cirrhosis. He was 43 years old.
His widow, Inga, had him cremated and his ashes were inurned in Hartsdale, New York, where she lived after his death. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame asked the Freeds if they would display the urn at the museum. The family agreed, and the urn (full of ashes) was put on view in 2002. But in August 2014, Freed's oldest son, Lance Freed was asked to remove them.
Burial of the ashes was favored by the Freed family. Rock guitarist Steve Van Zandt suggested burial in Cleveland beneath a memorial designed to look like a jukebox.
The memorial was unveiled on May 7, 2016, at Lake View Cemetery at 2:22 PM.
I didn't intend to see the dedication service. It started at 1 PM, and I didn't arrive until 2 PM. I was sure it was over, but they must have started late or run long or something. The Spinners did two songs, and I heard two speakers, AND I saw the actual unveiling!
I just wanted photos of the memorial on the day of its dedication. Instead, I kind of lucked out and got some half-decent photos.
This is Lance Freed and his wife, viewing the memorial after the celebration. He is Freed's oldest son, and a music company executive.
This is Steven Van Zandt (in purple), who conceived the idea of a jukebox-like memorial about two years ago.
The Spinners performed at the event.
This is Alan Freed, Jr. with the memorial. He is Freed's second son.
This is songwriter and singer Jimmy Clanton.