Alan Freed’s Rock and Roll Shows Get a Little Too Crazy (feat. Jack McBrayer) – Drunk History


– HELLO, MY NAME
IS DAVID WAIN. I HAVE A DIRTY MARTINI, AND TODAY WE’RE GONNA TALK
ABOUT ALAN FREED AND THE BIRTH
OF ROCK AND ROLL, WHICH IS A GREAT STORY ABOUT FUN, RACE, AND MUSIC. ALAN FREED WAS A DJ ON W.A.K.R.
IN AKRON, OHIO, AND HE’S LIKE, YOU KNOW, HEY, I’M PLAYING
REGULAR MUSIC. HE WAS PLAYING JAZZ AND POP
AND PRE-ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC. MEANWHILE, THERE WAS
THIS GUY NAMED LEO MINTZ. LEO MINTZ WAS A RECORD-STORE
OWNER IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, AND LEO MINTZ WAS SEEING
THAT THESE WHITE KIDS ARE HAVING A GOOD TIME,
AND THEY’RE DANCING. BUT AT THE TIME,
IT WASN’T ACCEPTED FOR WHITE PEOPLE
TO BUY BLACK MUSIC, OR WHAT THEY CALLED
RACE MUSIC. AND HE BECAME AWARE
OF THIS DJ, ALAN FREED, AND HE’S LIKE,
COME OVER TO CLEVELAND, AND YOU CAN GO
ON THE AIR ON WJW, WHICH WAS A BIG RADIO STATION, WAS A WHITE RADIO STATION, BUT I’M GOING TO GET YOU
TO PLAY THESE RHYTHM-AND-BLUES RECORDS
THAT I’M TRYING TO SELL. AND ALAN FREED SAID,
THANK YOU. I’LL DO IT. IT WAS A TIME
WHEN RACIAL BOUNDARIES WERE JUST SLOWLY BEING BENDED, BUT NOBODY KNEW. [laughs] – NOBODY KNEW.
– NOBODY KNEW. NOBODY KNEW. LEO MINTZ WOULD COME OVER
TO THE RADIO STATION, AND HE’S LIKE, YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE WE GONNA CALL
THIS THING? ‘CAUSE IF WE CALL IT
RHYTHM AND BLUES, THEN THE WHITE AUDIENCE
WON’T ACCEPT IT, ‘CAUSE THAT’S
A RACE-MUSIC TERM. AND THEY WERE LIKE,
WELL, YOU KNOW, WE’RE ROCKING
AND ROLLING. IT’S [bleep] GREAT. HE WAS LIKE,
THAT’S WHAT IT IS. IT’S ROCK AND ROLL. [burps] AND HE CREATES
THIS WHOLE PERSONA. HE’S LIKE,
HEY, HOW Y’ALL DOING TODAY? IT’S ALAN FREED,
KING OF THE MOONDOGGERS! THE MOONDOG SHOW
IN NORTHEAST OHIO, CLEVELAND, OHIO, HOME OF THE CLEVELAND BROWNS’
ART MODELL! OKAY, SO, NOW… AND THAT’S GOOD. CHEERS.
– ROCK AND ROLL. – ONCE AGAIN,
AND HERE WE ARE. THIS IS NUMBER TWO.
– NUMBER TWO. – SO THEN HE’S LIKE,
OKAY, WHAT DO WE DO TO, LIKE, UP THE ANTE HERE? AND SO ALAN FREED’S LIKE,
LET’S MAKE A BIG [bleep] SHOW. [coughs] SO THEN THEY SET UP THIS
BIG SHOW AT THE CLEVELAND ARENA, THE MOONDOG CORONATION BALL. IT WAS, YOU KNOW, CONSIDERED
THE FIRST ROCK AND ROLL CONCERT THAT THERE EVER WAS. SO 20,000 PEOPLE
COME TO IT, A VENUE THAT COULD
ONLY FIT 10,000. THEY’RE SHOVING IN.
IT BECOMES A [bleep] FIASCO. THERE’S RIOTS. THE CLEVELAND FIRE DEPARTMENT
SHUT THE WHOLE THING DOWN. WELL, OF COURSE,
THE NEXT DAY, IT’S LIKE, ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC
IS HURTING TEENAGERS, MAKING THEM BAD, UM… I THINK WHEN YOU DRINK, YOU LOSE A LITTLE BIT
OF VOCABULARY, BUT ANYWAY, THAT’S FINE. BUT HE WENT ON THE AIR
THE NEXT DAY– LOOK, IT DIDN’T WORK OUT,
BUT WE MOVE FORWARD. ARE YOU WITH ME?
WE’LL KNOW IF– BY YOUR PHONE CALLS,
YOUR LETTERS. AND THE TEENAGERS
WERE INTO IT, AND THEY JUST CAME OUT
IN THRONGS. HE WAS EVENTUALLY WOOED
BY THE BIG TOWN, AND I’M TALKING
ABOUT MR. NEW, MR. YORK, AND HELLO, CITY. I’M TALKING
ABOUT NEW YORK CITY. JESUS CHRIST. HE PACKS UP HIS [bleep], AND HE GOES FROM CLEVELAND
TO NEW YORK, AND HE’S LIKE, LET ME
TELL YOU ABOUT CHUCK BERRY. LET ME TELL YOU
ABOUT LITTLE RICHARD. LET ME TELL YOU
ABOUT FATS DOMINO. AND HIS SHOW
IS PIPED TO EUROPE. IT HAS BEEN SAID IT’S THE
FIRST TIME THAT THE BEATLES HEAR ROCK AND ROLL,
IS ON ALAN FREED’S RADIO SHOW. [bad British accent]
HEY, THERE, PAUL. THIS IS PRETTY GOOD. MAYBE WE SHOULD DO THIS. [normal voice]
NEXT THING YOU KNOW, IT’S, LIKE, THE BEATLES. HE PUT TOGETHER A SHOW
IN BOSTON, AND THE KIDS
ARE GETTING ROWDY, AND THE COPS IN BOSTON,
THEY’RE LIKE, NO, THIS IS NOT OKAY. SO THEN ALAN FREED
GETS ONSTAGE, AND HE’S LIKE,
KIDS, IT’S GONNA BE FUN. WE’RE GONNA HAVE
A GOOD TIME. WE’RE GONNA ROCK
AND ROLL TONIGHT. ROCK AND ROLL,
ROCK AND ROLL, ROCK AND ROLL! AND THEN THEY’RE LIKE,
EVERYONE, WE’RE TURNING THE LIGHTS ON. ALAN FREED MAKES
THIS OFFHAND REMARK. HE’S LIKE, YOU KNOW,
I GUESS THE BOSTON COPS JUST DON’T WANT YOU GUYS
TO HAVE ANY FUN. IT BECOMES A TOTAL DISASTER,
BAD-NEWS THING. IT’S, LIKE, ALMOST
A RIOT BREAKS OUT, AND THEN THEY HAVE
TO SHUT THE THING DOWN. OUTSIDE THE VENUE THAT NIGHT,
THERE WERE SOME STABBINGS, AND THERE WAS SOME
VIOLENT [bleep] THAT WENT DOWN. THEY ACCUSED HIM
OF INCITING A RIOT, AND HE HAD TO DEFEND HIMSELF
AND SAY, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T DO–
I WAS JUST HAVING A CONCERT. BUT HIS JOB,
HIS BOSSES AT W.I.N.S., WERE LIKE,
NO, THIS IS TOO CONTROVERSIAL. YOU KNOW WHAT?
THIS GUY IS– CAN’T–GOT TO GO. HE WENT ON THE AIR,
AND HE WAS LIKE, LOOK, I’M SORRY.
I’M SAD. BUT I’M GOING OFF THE AIR,
SO THANKS FOR ALL THESE YEARS, BUT MY ERA IS OVER. AND THEN HE PUT ON
THIS RECORD,SO LONGBY FATS DOMINO. IT WAS REALLY THE END
OF HIS REIGN AS THE GUY, AND HE LEFT THE STATION. – ♪ SO LONG ♪ – AND WHEN HE GOES DOWN,
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STATION, ALL THESE FANS
ARE DOWN THERE, AND THEY’RE LIKE,
OH, MY GOD, YOU CAN’T LEAVE! WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO? WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO
WITHOUT YOU? AND HE WAS LIKE,
YOU KNOW WHAT? IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.
IT’S ABOUT ROCK AND ROLL. AND ROCK AND ROLL
WILL ALWAYS BE HERE, AND NOTHING WILL STOP THAT. AND SO ROCK AND ROLL
WILL NEVER DIE, AND ROCK AND ROLL
HAS GONE ON. ROCK AND ROLL
IS BASICALLY ABOUT, LIKE, GETTING UP THERE
AND BEING LIKE, [bleep] IT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? LIKE, IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO SAY, I DON’T GIVE A [bleep]. YOU HAVE TO [bleep]
SHOW IT. [screams]

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