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The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame To Remove Alan Freed’s Ashes

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

He may be credited with coining the phrase “rock & roll,” but it’s not enough to keep the ashes of Alan Freed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The ashes of Alan Freed — the Cleveland DJ credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll” some 60 years ago — were removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Monday by his son Lance, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Lance Freed told the Plain Dealer he was informed several months ago by Hall President and CEO Greg Harris that he would have to remove his father’s ashes, which had been on display in a gold urn at the museum since 2002. Before then, they had been interred in a mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York.

Freed recalled for the newspaper that Harris told him that “people walk past the exhibit and your dad’s ashes and they scratch their heads and can’t figure out what this thing is, and we’d like you to come pick up the ashes.”

The ashes were part of an exhibit dedicated to Freed, who died in 1965 at the age of 43. Freed not only coined the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll,” he also organized dances to promote the music style, beginning with the 1952 Moondog Coronation, which is considered the first rock concert.

Lance Freed said Monday his family wasn’t involved in “making the decision [to remove the ashes].” Freed told the newspaper, “We didn’t have a choice. I’m more than disappointed. I don’t feel it’s appropriate, but I don’t own the place. After 12 years, we thought this was going to be his final resting place.”

Harris told the Plain Dealer Monday that “the concept of human remains on display for the public is something that museums in general are getting away from.” Harris said a pair of microphones used by late DJ would replace the ashes in the Freed exhibit.

Lance Freed says his father’s ashes will be taken to a local cemetery, but that’s only a temporary solution. Freed says he wants the local community to decide where his father’s final resting place will be. “We want to leave it up to the people of Northeast, Ohio,” he says.




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