The Payola scandal heats up

The Payola scandal heats up


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The Payola scandal reaches a new level of public prominence and legal gravity on February 11, 1960, when President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act.

What exactly was Payola? During the hearings conducted by Congressman Oren Harris (D-Arkansas) and his powerful Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight—fresh off its inquiry into quiz-show rigging—the term was sometimes used as a blanket reference to a range of corrupt practices in the radio and recording industries. But within the music business, Payola referred specifically to a practice that was nearly as old as the industry itself: manufacturing a popular hit by paying for radio play.

As the Payola hearings got under way in February 1960, the public was treated to tales of a lavish disk-jockey convention in Miami bought and paid for by various record companies. One disk jockey, Wesley Hopkins of KYW in Cleveland, admitted to receiving over the course of 1958 and 1959 $12,000 in “listening fees” from record companies for “evaluating the commercial possibilities” of records. Another DJ named Stan Richard, from station WILD in Boston, also admitted to receiving thousands of dollars from various record promoters, and though like Hopkins he denied letting such fees affect his choice of which records to play on the air, he also offered a vigorous defense of Payola, comparing it to “going to school and giving the teacher a better gift than the fellow at the next desk.” He practically likened it to Motherhood and Apple Pie: “This seems to be the American way of life, which is a wonderful way of life. It’s primarily built on romance—I’ll do for you, what will you do for me?” It was this comment that prompted President Eisenhower to weigh in on February 11, 1960, with his condemnation of Payola.

But what explains the involvement of Congress in this issue? Technically, the concern of the Harris Committee was abuse of public trust, since the airwaves over which radio stations broadcast their signals are property of the people of the United States. However, 1960 was also an election year, and Rep. Harris and his colleagues on the Subcommittee were eager to be seen on the right side of a highly visible “moral” issue. Though it is widely agreed that the famous 1960 hearings on Payola merely reorganized the practice rather than eradicating it, those hearings did accomplish two very concrete things that year: they threatened the career of American Bandstand‘s Dick Clark and they destroyed the man who gave rock and roll its name, the legendary Cleveland disk jockey Alan Freed.


Alan Freed

Albert James "Alan" Freed (December 15, 1921 – January 20, 1965) was an American disc jockey. [1] He also produced and promoted large traveling concerts with various acts, helping to spread the importance of rock and roll music throughout North America.

In 1986, Freed was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. His "role in breaking down racial barriers in U.S. pop culture in the 1950s, by leading white and black kids to listen to the same music, put the radio personality 'at the vanguard' and made him 'a really important figure'", according to the Executive Director. [2]

Freed was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991. The organization's website posted this note: "He became internationally known for promoting African-American rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll". [3]

The DJ's career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s as well as allegations of taking credit for songs he did not write [4] and by his chronic alcoholism. [5]


The Payola scandal heats up - HISTORY

In 1960, the payola scandal stunned America. Radio DJ’s were being secretly remunerated for favoring airplay for some records. President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act. It was an abuse of public trust, since the airwaves over which radio stations broadcast their signals are the property of the people of the United States. [1]

In Germany now, a sort of payola scandal has been revealed by Udo Ulfkotte, a veteran reporter whose new book, Bought Journalism, has climbed to #7 on the bestseller list there.

Ersjdamoo was first alerted to the CIA payola scandal in Germany thanks to a report by Peter Oliver on the Russia Today network news, broadcast September 25, 2014. Oliver’s report cannot yet be found on the RT website, for some reason.

However the reports on Ulfkotte’s book, Bought Journalism, have crossed over from German-only to some Spanish outlets at this point. So, for example, Spain’s El Mundo reports that Ulfkotte, who works for Frankfurt’s Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, names names, including his own. “The author admits having received money from U.S. intelligence services in return for focusing upon various topics from a certain point of view, and denounces that, thanks to this type of practice, more than a few of the German news outlets have been converted into NATO propaganda branches.” [2]

Reportedly [2], conduits for the payola going to certain German reporters include…

  • Atlantik-Brücke
  • Trilateral Commission
  • German Marshall Fund
  • American Council on Germany
  • American Academy
  • Aspen Institute
  • Institute for European Politics

Ulfkotte claims, according to the El Mundo report, that a list of names of the bought journalists routinely circulates among the above listed organizations and that these names are called upon to orchestrate “news” reports, editorials, and TV/radio discussions so as to help dominate German public opinion. [2]

The Spanish language branch of the Russia Today network corroborates the El Mundo report. Ulfkotte’s book “offers a multitude of cases, names, and examples of manipulation of German public opinion orchestrated by the U.S. embassy in Germany and by various international entities.” [3]

In Germany Ulfkotte has revealed once more the continuing presence of the CIA Mighty Wurlitzer. It was all part of “Operation Mockingbird”, a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. The U.S. Congress investigated the CIA Wurlitzer in 1976 [4], but Ulfkotte’s book indicates the creature is still alive and well.

The continued presence of the CIA Mighty Wurlitzer has also been indicated through recent revelations that CIA worked to destroy the career of crusading journalist Gary Webb. Webb, writing for the San Jose Mercury News, had uncovered links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California. CIA was condoning cocaine smuggling into the United States. Some people began to say that “CIA” really meant “Cocaine Import Agency.” On September 18, the CIA released a trove of documents spanning three decades of secret government operations. Gary Webb’s reporting was giving CIA a “bad hair day.” Thanks in part to “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists, the CIA’s Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.” [5]


All shook up: a historian examines rock and roll…sorta

“Rock and roll might best be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria.” – Vance Packard

All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Changed America by Glenn Altschuler (image courtesy Goodreads)

I just finished a book that is kinda/sorta amusing, kinda/sorta amazing. Glenn Altschuler’s All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Changed America will amuse anyone who knows a lot about rock music and rock music history (ahem) it will amaze anyone who thinks rock and roll books should be about – well, rock and roll, for one thing. This historical account of the rise of rock and roll in the 1950’s and its evolution and status through to the early 2000’s is long on what we call cultural history.

In some ways this is a good thing because Altschuler can focus on America as a society and how rock and roll music’s explosion into public consciousness, after simmering in a stew of up tempo country music (think Hank Williams’ “Hey, Good Lookin'”) and rhythm and blues (think of Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”), affected those who were teenagers, their parents, teachers, and other elders, and the social structure those parents supported and sustained.

The major figures who emerged as rock and roll’s stars – figures such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Elvis – receive what feels like cursory treatment, at least as cursory a treatment as Altschuler can give them and explore his thesis (see title). In other words, Professor Altschuler is more interested in the effects of rock and roll on American culture than in rock and roll itself.

What Altschuler focuses on are the institutions and personalities in that second group I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago – those various elders. Much of All Shook Up focuses on the machinations of those elders to derail the burgeoning rock and roll movement. One of those machinations deserves further discussion as it is central to Altschuler’s thesis.

The machination Altschuler looks at is the payola scandal that rocked the popular music industry in the late 1950’s. The scandal involved record companies, radio stations, and the biggest non-musician stars of the era, disc jockeys. The two deejays whose careers Altschuler chooses to examine are both historical figures now, though one was consigned to Trotsky’s metaphorical dustbin well before the other. Alan Freed, the Cleveland disc jockey who is widely credited for coining the term that gives the genre of music he championed its name, rock ‘n’ roll, is one. A Philadelphia DJ who was able to transition his radio gig into a long and successful career as a television star and music impresario is the other. His name? Dick Clark. The responses of these two influential and iconic figures in the history of popular music to the scandal which became so politically poisonous it prompted a Congressional investigation tells the reader a lot about who the men were. How the passionate and fiery, ultimately admirable Freed was destroyed, financially and personally, by the payola scandal and how Clark, the sly, self-promoting manipulator who forever played the bland diplomat, survived and thrived well enough to become one of the most powerful men in pop music for decades is an object lesson about how music is a business, first, last and always.

Freed partly doomed himself by his adamant stance defending both rock and roll performers and their audiences, the teenagers mentioned above. His drinking also likely played a major role in his premature death at 43. But his legal troubles, beginning with a charge of incitement to riot charge during a Boston rock show when he told his audience, who were being bullied by police for dancing instead of sitting quietly in their seats, “It looks like the Boston police don’t want you to have a good time,” led to his destruction. In his appearance before Congress Freed denied taking payola and in one of his comments away from the hearings quipped, “What they call payola in the disc jockey business they call lobbying in Washington.”

Thus Freed made himself a target. What happened as a result, as Altschuler notes, was inevitable:

Present at the creation, Freed remained a poster boy for rock ‘n’ roll, a cheerleader for many controversial performers. Arrogant and argumentative, even when he hadn’t had too much to drink, Freed was easy to to portray as a wild, greedy, and dangerous man.

Dick Clark was the antithesis of Freed – his public persona was invariably pleasant, even vanilla. His boyish looks and manner made him a popular figure, first in Philly radio (where looks didn’t matter) and then in Philly TV (where they mattered enough that his TV show Bandstand got picked up by ABC and renamed American Bandstand). Clark also avoided controversy on his program by enforcing strict dress and behavior codes, something Alan Freed had not done on his ABC program Big Beat, which got cancelled after black singer Frankie Lymon (who, with his group the Teenagers produced the 50’s classic “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”) danced with a white female audience member. When the payola scandal hit, Clark was as deep as, perhaps deeper in the morass than Freed. He owned part interest in a record company and distributor – and he plugged that company’s records frequently on his show, a clear act of payola. While Freed had accepted traditional forms of payola (cash and gifts for what he called “consulting” with record companies as well as fake songwriting credits that brought him royalties – he got co-songwriting credits for, among others Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” and The Moonglows’ “Sincerely”), Clark was a record company owner and held copyrights on over 150 songs (including classics such as The Crests’ “Sixteen Candles”), none of which he wrote.

But when he testified before Congress, Clark put his boyish good looks and vanilla style to good (for him, anyway) use. He assured the investigating subcommittee that he had divested himself of his interests in the music industry (which was true – greatly to his financial advantage) and that he had never engaged in payola practices (which was false – also to his great financial advantage). Unlike Alan Freed, however, Clark’s relationship with his bosses, the police and other legal authorities and parents was conciliatory and obliging. What Clark did, then, at the expense of his personal credibility with some of his audience, was save his own skin:

In his testimony to the subcommittee, Clark searched for space between the Scylla of self-incrimination and the Charybdis of non-cooperation. He was more concerned about limiting his own liability than defending the music business.

Clark did survive the payola investigations, of course. In response, he foisted upon American teenagers artists and music that the great rock critic Nik Cohn called “high school”: cloying songs about teen-aged love sung by manufactured pop idols such as Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Bobby Rydell.

And therein lies the next part of the tale. The payola scandal succeeded in its attempt to destroy the wild spirit of rock and roll as it emerged in America in the mid 1950’s. Coupled with the deaths of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, the first of many attempts at religious redemption by Little Richard, the imprisonment of Chuck Berry on morals charges, Jerry Lee Lewis’s catastrophic marriages and legal entanglements, and Elvis Presley’s army induction, American rock and roll would nearly fade into obscurity.

Altschuler notes, though, in the concluding chapter of All Shook Up that England did not suffer the cultural struggles over rock and roll that America did. Neither did they embrace the schlock rock of Dick Clark’s proteges. Instead, British kids listened to the music of the great American rock and rollers and brought it back to America in the mid-1960’s British Invasion. With the manufactured teen idols swept aside by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and their compatriots, rock and roll evolved into rock and ruled American popular music for the next 30 years, changing American culture profoundly.

Altschuler is shakiest in this area. His interest, as I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, is not in rock music or its musicians. That is nowhere more evident than in the last paragraph of All Shook Up:

In the half century since rock ‘n’ roll got its name (the book was published in 2005), the music has taken many forms, including R&B (!), romantic rock, heavy metal, punk rock, grunge rock, Christian rock, and postmodernist feminist rock. More than ever, it frustrates anyone intent on giving it a rigorous, musical definition. It still has legions of fanatic fans and ferocious foes, ready to pledge more than their allegiance or antipathy to Madonna (!), Bono, or J. Lo. (!!) The music that changed America in the 1950’s and 60’s, rock ‘n’ roll, continues to solidify youth consciousness….

One can only expect that Altschuler’s next book might be about how the Internet or social media changed our culture.


Keywords

Sudip Bhattacharjee is an Assistant Professor in Management Information Systems in the OPIM Department at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Bhattacharjee's research interests lie in design and analysis of distributed computing systems, economics of information systems, and supply chain integration. His research has been published or is forthcoming in various journals such as INFORMS Journal on Computing, Journal of Business, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, European Journal of Operational Research, and other journal and conference proceedings. His research has been highlighted in various media outlets such as Business Week, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Der Spiegel, Christian Science Monitor, slashdot.org and others.

Ram Gopal is GE Capital Endowed Professor of Business and Associate Professor of Operations and Information Management in the School of Business, University of Connecticut. He currently serves as the PhD director for the department. His current research interests include economics of information systems management, data security, economic and ethical issues relating to intellectual property rights, and multimedia applications. His research has appeared in Management Science, Operations Research, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Information Systems Research, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, and other journals and conference proceedings.


TeachRock

THE MOST AMAZING thing about Dick Clark is not that "America's Oldest Living Teenager" still fits that role at age 61. It's not that he's one of the most successful (and wealthiest) people in show business. It's not even the fact that nearly all the great (and plenty of not-so-great) artists in the history of rock 'n' roll have appeared on his American Bandstand. The most amazing thing about Dick Clark is that he can't dance. He's admitted it. Dick Clark has two left feet.

Beginning August 5, 1957, the Monday afternoon when he took over as host of the longest-running variety program in television, Dick Clark brought dancing into millions of American homes, first on a daily basis and then weekly. For over three decades, thousands of well-scrubbed kids appeared before the American Bandstand cameras to dance the Stroll, the Twist, the Bump, the Fly, the Jerk, the Hully-Gully the Frug, the Loco-Motion, the Philly Dog, the Madison, the Monkey and the who-knows-what to many more thousands of records. But Dick Clark never joined them. Not that he had the time to he was too busy creating an American icon. And an empire.

In 1990 American Bandstand no longer exists. Clark finally took himself off the show more than a year ago and describes its current status as "in limbo." That hardly makes him an idle man, though. His Dick Clark Productions puts its stamp on dozens of television, radio and film projects every year and Clark's pace is no less hectic than it was during Bandstand's heyday: he hosts specials, such as the annual New Year's Rockin' Eve and the American Music Awards, a nightly Jeopardy-likegame show (Challengers), and his ever-smiling face graces myriad other programs. He has a lot to smile about &mdash his hard work has paid off to the tune of a personal fortune estimated at more than $100,000,000.

While his story isn't quite rags-to-riches, Clark didn't get to where he is through luck or laziness. Always an ambitious workaholic, his career has been marked by smart moves, his eye sharply focused on trends in popular culture and how best to package them for the masses. Clark has often said that he doesn't make culture, he sells it. And no one in the entertainment industry is a better salesman.

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born November 30, 1929 in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Richard Augustus Clark, a sales manager for a cosmetics company, and Julia Clark. An older brother, Bradley, was killed in action during World War II. "For almost a year," Clark later wrote in his autobiography, Rock, Roll & Remember, "I dealt with it by eliminating the outside world as much as possible." One of the ways he escaped was by listening to the radio. "It seemed so romantic to stay up all night and play records and get paid for it," he wrote.

After graduating from A.B. Davis High School in 1947, Clark and his family moved to Utica, New York his uncle had purchased the nearby radio station WRUN and the elder Richard Clark was hired as sales manager. At the same time, Dick Clark was hired &mdash he ran the mimeograph machine, stuffed envelopes, distributed memos. Before long, he was reading weather reports and the news.

When the summer ended, Clark began attending Syracuse University, taking radio and advertising courses. He quickly landed a spot on the campus radio station, WAER, and, in his senior year, moved over to local station WOLF.

Clark graduated college in June 1951, a B.S. degree in business administration in hand, and promptly discovered television, taking a newscasting job at the small WKTV in Utica. Even then, there was no doubt where he was headed. "He was full of ambition," station manager Michael C. Fusco told the New York Post years later. "When I hired him he told me frankly he only intended to stay a year. I hated to lose him, but he was much too good for a station our size."

Clark kept his promise and in 1952 relocated to Philadelphia, working first as a summer replacement announcer at radio station WFIL, where he hosted Dick Clark's Caravan Of Musicprogram. That June he married his high school sweetheart, Bobbie Mallery.

In September of that same year WFIL's television outlet, channel 6, launched a new program, Bandstand, to replace its afternoon movie program, which had been bombing. Bob Horn, a DJ on WFIL radio, had been hosting a program called Bob Horn's Bandstand and convinced the TV station management that the concept could transfer well to the budding new medium. With Tony Mammarella producing, Bandstand hitthe TV airwaves in October 1952, Horn introducing guest Dizzy Gillespie and cutting to musical film clips between artist interviews.

It wasn't quite the right formula, though. Horn took a cue from a radio program called The 950 Club: bring in kids to dance to the music. The station bit, assigned Horn a partner, Lee Stewart, and the program became an instant success. The kids would dance to current hits, introduce themselves and say what school they were from, and critique the records they heard.

Bob Horn is credited with having introduced the Rate-A-Record segment of Bandstand, and it was during his tenure that the immortal line, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it," was first heard. (Trivia note: the lowest-rated song ever on American Bandstand was 'The Chipmunk Song', which rated a 35, the lowest score a record could earn on the show. It went on to sell a million copies.)

Stewart left the show in 1955 and Horn was dismissed the year after that, following an arrest for drunk driving. In July 1956, Mammarella offered the job to Dick Clark, whose radio program, not so coincidentally, had also taken on the Bandstand name in the meantime. Clark debuted on July 9, 1956. One other thing had also changed: the music. Now kids were dancing to something called rock 'n' roll.

The number one song on Bandstand's "Teenage Top Ten" the day Dick Clark took over as host was 'Stranded In The Jungle' by the Jayhawks. Clark was by no means a fan of rock 'n' roll music, admitting he didn't "understand" it at first. But he grew to enjoy it and, in short time, to be able to smell a hit.

As the program grew in popularity, so, too, did Clark's power within the music industry. Radio stations jumped on records that the Bandstand kids liked, and promo men from record companies constantly shoved 45s in his face. Clark didn't allow himself to be bullied into playing a record, though. And more importantly, he didn't allow airplay on the show to be bought, a point that would save his career a few years later.

Bandstand was not strictly a rock 'n' roll show, however. Pop singers such as Tony Bennett and Al Martino were just as likely to make a guest appearance as any rocker, and country and jazz artists were featured as well.

Nor was Bandstand segregated. While black artists had been featured on the show literally since day one, the dancers were all white kids until Dick Clark insisted on integrating. "Look, it was just too painfully obvious that rock 'n' roll &mdash and by extension Bandstand &mdash owed its very existence to black people, their culture and their music," he told Michael Shore in the book The History Of American Bandstand. "It would have been ridiculous, embarrassing notto integrate the show."

Bandstand had become more popular than WFIL had ever imagined what began as a time-filler for afternoon off-hours had become a magnet for local teenagers. Some of the kids who danced regularly on the program were becoming well-known in their own right. They received mail at the station. Lines formed outside the studio doors every day, kids hoping to make it inside to appear on the show. Bandstand was now the highest-rated afternoon TV show in any American city. Clark thought the show might be of interest to viewers outside of the Philly area. He wasn't the only one: clone shows sprang up in other cities.

Clark's enthusiasm wasn't immediately shared by network execs, one of whom was heard to proclaim, according to clark himself, "Who the hell would want to watch kids dancing in Philadelphia?" But the numbers spoke the truth and in June 1957 the ABC-TV network agreed to give Clark and his program a five-week trial run, allotting 90 minutes a day. On August 5, Bandstand became American Bandstand.

Some 67 stations carried American Bandstand that first day as Dick Clark played records, introduced guests Billy Williams and the Chordettes, and the kids danced.

The critics were not impressed. "As a sociological study of teenage behavior, the premiere was a mild success," said Billboard. "As relaxation and entertainment, it wasn't&hellipA local smash, the series isn't going to help Philadelphia's reputation nationally as a quiet town."

What resulted, of course, was not only the national success of American Bandstand, but the elevation of Philly's status to that of a barometer for national music trends. Not only was it important which records Clark played and the teens liked being a performer fromPhiladelphia could guarantee a measure of success. The so-called teen idols &mdash Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, et. al. &mdash became teen dreams immediately, largely due to their exposure on Bandstand. Local black performers such as Chubby Checker, the Orlons and Dee Dee Sharp (many of whom were signed to the Philly-based Cameo-Parkway labels) would later find national success. But just being on American Bandstand was a boost, and virtually every important early rock 'n' roll artist, save Elvis (and later the Beatles), appeared on the show.

So, too, did more than a few who didn't find success. Shore's Bandstand history book contains a complete listing of Top 100 songs lip-synced by the original artist on the show (artists never sang live until much later in the program's history, and even then nearly all mouthed the words to their records), but there are plenty of air dates where no artist is listed, generally meaning that day's guest's record wasn't greatly aided by the artists's appearance.

Dick Clark has always maintained that there was nothing he &mdash or anyone else &mdash could do to make a bad record a hit, that it was in the grooves the kids either liked it, and bought it, or they didn't.

That didn't stop some of his colleagues in the broadcasting industry from trying to "help" a record along &mdash accepting a little payola in the form of green paper or material goods from someone with a vested interest in seeing the record do well.

The payola scandal of 1959-60 was one of the darker episodes in rock music's history. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear &mdash yet all too clear &mdash the U.S. government decided to crack down on the practice at that time. It was rampant, if illegal, and the government wanted it stopped.

The roots of the payola hearings can be traced to the establishment of BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) in 1939 and its rivalry with ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Although too complex a situation to be discussed within the confines of this article, the culmination of the war came in the mid-཮s when BMI became the target of criticism (and lawsuits) not only from ASCAP but various songwriters' associations, whose oldlline Tin Pan Alley songwriters felt threatened by the new rock 'n' roll industry, which relied on its own writers.

That, and the perceived threat of rock 'n' roll in general by the nation's adults, led to the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington investigating the so-called payola practice. Looking for a way to stop rock 'n' roll &mdash and, they hoped, BMI &mdash the subcommittee began holding hearings on payola, a common practice in the music industry for a hundred years. If they could prove the rock 'n' roll disc jockeys were accepting gifts in return for playing records, they could get rid of that national threat led by Elvis Presley and his greasy-haired legions.

The scandal brought down more than one broadcasting career, most notably that of pioneering rock 'n' roll disc jockey Alan Freed. Freed, then working for powerful New York radio station WABC, had refused to sign an affidavit saying he'd refused to accept payola, or bribes, for playing records over the air. He was convicted, fined and given a suspended sentence but his career was virtually ruined by the incident. He died a broken man in 1965.

Clark says in his book that he had, of course, been approached by promo men eager to hand him cash in exchange for favors. When called before the subcommittee, he even admitted that he had accepted gifts, including cash, a fur and jewelry for his wife &mdash but never as a payoff to push a record. In addition he had invested a sizable chunk of his even more sizable income in music business-related concerns since his career took off in 1957. Clark was already a multi-millionaire by the time the payola hearings came about, and as far as the House was concerned, there had to be some shady business behind his good fortune. There had to be something wrong with a guy making all that money off that disgusting "music."

On May 2, 1960, it was Clark's turn to go to Washington. Grilled by politicians with little schooling in music or the industry, he answered one absurd question after another. Basically, what their poking around -boiled down to was that Clark had to be accepting bribes or he wouldn't be playing such trash he'd be playing Frank Sinatra, or Mantovani, anything except rock 'n' roll.

Clark held his ground. He played what the kids liked, he played hits, he didn't take money. He defended his business interests, listing 33 of them from music publishing to stuffed animals. "You say you got no payola, but you got an awful lot of royola," said Rep. Steven B. Derounian (R-N.Y.). "I seek to provide wholesome recreational outlets for these youngsters whom I think I know and understand," Clark said. When it was all over, Clark was cleared. He divested himself of all music-related business interests, throwing away an estimated $8 million in the process. One congressman called him a "fine young man."

American Bandstand prospered throughout the ླྀs. In 1964, as the Beatles &mdash Clark missed the call on them, didn't see any potential &mdash and their British compatriots came along, the show moved to Los Angeles. Eventually, the daily show was dropped in favor of a weekly program.

Clark, who had established Dick Clark Productions early in his career for the purpose of diversifying, created new TV programs, including the music shows Where The Action Is, Happening and In Concert, and funded films, among them Because They're Young and the 1968 San Francisco hippie exploitation classic Psych-Out. Later films (many of them for television) included Elvis and The Birth Of The Beatles. He's hosted the successful radio programs The Dick Clark National Music Survey and Dick Clark's Rock, Roll And Remember.

Clark has been enormously successful outside of the music arena as well, creating the game show $10,000 Pyramid (later doubled to $20,000 and then raised another five grand), TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes, The Golden Globe Awards, The American Music Awards, The Country Music Awards and countless specials. He's been known to have regular programs running on three networks simultaneously.

And Dick Clark has lent his name to records, books and videos (culled from old Bandstandepisodes). The bottom line is the bottom line for Dick Clark: will it sell? If it will, and it falls within the scope of what he considers good entertainment, Clark is likely to take on the project. Not everything his hands have touched has turned to gold, but enough has to keep him from worrying where tomorrow's dinner will come from.

In 1959 he began taking artists on the road on "Caravan of Stars" tours, promoting dozens of top names of the day and bringing integrated concerts to some places that had never seen any &mdash in Atlanta, the Ku Klux Klan dropped by to see if they could stir up a little trouble when Sam Cooke was presented on an otherwise all-white bill.

Clark's open-mindedness toward music has never faltered. While he admits falling out of step during the late ླྀs &mdash the San Francisco era left him on the outside looking in &mdash Clark has always embraced the new. His personal taste has never played a part in any decision determining the music he's booked &mdash if there's interest in it, he'll book it. Looking over the listing of Bandstand guests during the ྂs and ྌs, one marvels: disco, punk, pop, jazz, rap, everyone from Aerosmith (1973) to Janet Jackson (1982), Los Lobos (1985) to the Sugarhill Gang (1981), Bobby Sherman (1971) to Madonna (1984), have appeared on the show.

Dick Clark isn't a man who dwells on the past. Although he admits in the following interview that of all he's done he is proudest of American Bandstand, he is an entrepreneur with an eye on what's next, not what's come and gone. He is acutely aware of his own place in the history of twentieth century popular culture and modest in spite of it. "The greatest thing about the ཮s was that nothing happened," he once told a reporter.

That, of course, is not true. Rock 'n' roll happened, and Dick Clark's American Bandstand was there to bring it into millions of American living rooms, making sure that it would never go away.

Goldmine: At this point in your career you could obviously take it easier than you do. Yet you're still involved with a multitude of projects at once. What keeps you going at this pace?

Dick Clark: It's always challenging and interesting. It isn't always great, but it does keep life interesting and I suppose that's all you can ask out of any line of work. Once you lose interest in it you probably shouldn't do it anymore.

Goldmine: Which part of the entertainment business do you prefer, the entertainment or the business?

Dick Clark: I think they're so intermingled to the point that you can't separate them. Everybody's in show business, that's what makes it fun.

Goldmine: You once said that you don't make culture but sell it. Does that still apply?

Dick Clark: I think there's a tremendous amount of truth in that. I think culture and the art comes from the artists. The people who merchandise it, make it available, sell tickets to it, put it on television, send it to venues, are merely the tool with which it reaches the public.

Goldmine: What does Dick Clark Productions encompass today? How many projects do you take on in a given year?

Dick Clark: There are probably 30 or 40 under development right now, in active stages of development, several hundred flying around the airport just trying to land. It runs from radio, television, motion pictures and theatrically for television.

Goldmine: Before you made your name in television, you worked in radio. What attracted you to the medium of radio initially?

Dick Clark: I don't know. I looked in a diary I had the other day and every other page was "I listened to the radio." As a sub-teen I was hooked on radio. There wasn't any TV at that time when I first entered the business it was all radio. I was in television about the time it was created. I started in radio about 1947 and by ཭ or ཮ I was appearing on television, regularly in཯.

Goldmine: Rock 'n' roll wasn't really around yet at that time. When it did come into the mainstream, what did you think of it? Did you foresee yourself as someone who might play such a key role in its development?

Dick Clark: I don't know how to answer that. I was just there at the right moment in time.

Goldmine: Why do you think Bandstand happened in Philly? Could it have happened elsewhere?

Dick Clark: Bandstand went on the air in 1952 and was an immediate success with two other hosts so it could've happened in Cleveland or Buffalo or Dallas or Dubuque. It just happened to be in Philadelphia, which is propitious because not only was it in the east, it was close to New York, it had its own music industry. It did well probably because in those days I think Philly was the fourth or fifth largest city. It might not have happened in a tiny little town.

Goldmine: Were the anti-rock 'n' roll critics on you from the beginning?

Dick Clark: First of all, you have to realize that from ཰ to ཱི, there wasn't a great deal of controversy. Once rock music, rhythm 'n' blues and country music entered the field, then the heat was on because the people who were attuned to another world and whose purse strings were attached to it got very upset that newcomers were maybe going to take the money away, which eventually they did. So in the process, they tried to kill the art form.

Goldmine: When did you realize that you were starting to gain power in the industry as someone who could break records?

Dick Clark: Well, the secret was that everyone said that Bandstand was a powerful promotion vehicle for music when in truth we did have a huge audience and what caused the power was most of the&hellipI don't even know if they called them Top 40 radio stations in those days, but the ones who played the popular music of the day would copy the [Bandstand]playlist, then immediately jump on [the records played on the show]. So you got this double whammy where the radio and television were playing the same songs and they hadn't even entered the charts yet. So it was tremendous clout and we were the folks who got the credit, and not totally justifiably.

Goldmine: You must have had the pushy promo men on your back every day. How did you learn to handle them and keep your distance?

Dick Clark: I was very young and innocent and cordial and they were my friends and they just lived at the television station. They would fly in from all over the world.

Goldmine: When did the Rate-A-Record concept come into the show?

Dick Clark: That was from the beginning. It was there from the first day and was there in 1956 when I took over.

Goldmine: You've been quoted as saying you were puzzled by the whole idea.

Dick Clark: I'm still puzzled by it. They still talk about "I like the beat and it's easy to dance to." They've been saying it for 37 years. It never seemed to affect the outcome of the success of the record because some of them that were just butchered by the kids went on to great success, while others that were praised to the skies disappeared.

Goldmine: You always said that there was nothing that could make the kids buy a record if it wasn't in the grooves.

Dick Clark: That's been proven right into the ྖs. That's always been a truth. A lot of people don't believe it but it happens to be true.

Goldmine: Were you thinking in terms of going national with the show even before the network approached you to do so?

Dick Clark: Oh, yeah, that's the story of how, in my youthful enthusiasm, I went with a representative of WFIL, which is now WPVI, to New York to present a kinescope &mdash we had no tape &mdash of the show, which was getting 67 percent of the audience in Philadelphia. We said this could work nationally and their response was "Who the hell would want to watch kids from Philadelphia dancing to records?"

So they sent a guy down to investigate the phenomenon and he said, "I don't understand what they've got here but I think they're right and you oughta do it." They eventually gave us a five-week trial. It worked.

I missed the point though. He wrote me a letter which inasmuch as said don't call us, we'll call you. The letter is in my office. I ran up there [to New York] and in my enthusiasm said, "You're gonna love our show," and I guess we must've overwhelmed them.

Goldmine: You developed a lot of personal friendships from among the guests on the show. Who were some of the performers you became personally close to?

Dick Clark: There were all kinds of people. I still work with people I knew 35 years ago, which is the greatest joy of my life. I'm now into exchanging photos of their grandchildren and talking about their personal lives, and that rarely ever happens in the entertainment business. I just got an invitation to Rod Stewart's wedding. It goes from the ཮s to the ྖs. It's kinda nice. You hang on to the people you run into along the way.

Goldmine: Because of the show's roots in Philadelphia, you were often associated with the so-called teen idols, the Frankie Avalons and Fabians. History hasn't treated them kindly. How do you feel about the Philly teen idols of the ཮s and early ླྀs now?

Dick Clark: You know, the shameful part of that is, they always speak disparagingly of teen idols, forgetting that Elvis Presley was a teen idol, the Beatles were teen idols, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were teen idols. It's a stupid journalistic thing to be critical of artists who are appreciated by the young.

Goldmine: Do you see a continuum from Elvis and Fabian through the Beatles on up to New Kids on the Block?

Dick Clark: Sure. The Osmonds and the Jackson Five were teen idols. Everybody gets painted with that disparaging crush. It's an easy, cheap shot to take if you're a writer.

Goldmine: We recently received a letter from Pat Boone at this magazine, and he thinks he got a bum rap in the history books. Do you agree?

Dick Clark: Yeah, well, he's intelligent enough to handle it so I don't worry about him, but what I worry about is people who are not in the business anymore or are constantly criticized. I ran into Fabian on an airplane the other day. Now, here's a guy who's still out there working, gainfully employed, working with his tongue in his cheek, and enjoying every moment and reflecting back on his good fortune. I'm sure he knows, and he's admitted in public, that he hasn't got the greatest set of pipes in the world but the man is an entertainer and the people who go to see him want to go see him and enjoy him and what he does. So what in the devil is wrong with that?

Goldmine: Do you feel you also got a bum rap from being associated with those people?

Dick Clark: The easiest thing to write, for the most part in the late ླྀs and early ྂs &mdash young people who had no touch with the business and hadn't grown up with it &mdash was that all we ever did was play Philadelphia artists, not realizing that two-thirds of the people in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made their debut on American Bandstand. They paid no attention to the Chuck Berrys, the Little Richards, the Platters, the Penguins, all the roots people who were on. They always said it was the white teenage idols.

If I were a writer I guess I could tie into that, along with all of the roots people and all of the country people and all of the jazz people. Yeah, we had some teen idols and we had some Philadelphia people.

Goldmine: You also had a lot of mainstream pop people, Frankie Laine&hellip

Dick Clark: Tony Bennett was with us for years. And [Johnny] Mathis, for goodness' sake. So to put us in a pigeonhole, that really bugs the daylights out of me. It makes me very annoyed because that was an open store for all kinds of music, whatever sold.

I can remember one day in Los Angeles we had Herbie Alpert, Billy Preston, I'm trying to think of who else&hellip.incongruous guests on one show. And it was acceptable and it should always be acceptable. It's unfortunate that we've gotten so segmented in music now.

Goldmine: What was the response when the show became integrated?

Dick Clark: The show was integrated in terms of artists from the first day in 1952 or ཱ. They didn't have artists on the first day but that happened within a week or two. One of the earliest was Dizzy Gillespie. Blacks were always represented. They were not in the audience till ཱི, ུ.

When I was involved with the show in ུ we began to integrate with a greater purpose in mind, because it was obvious that was going to happen. Before that it was obviously a segregated show &mdash it had a white audience, a white dancing audience. And the fact of the matter is that when it became integrated, there wasn't a ripple. Nobody cared, there were no outcries, there were no nasty letters, there were no fist fights. It just happened. The whole world should've happened like that.

Goldmine: Yet when you went out on the road with the Caravan of Stars tours, and you hit the south, it wasn't like that at all.

Dick Clark: Oh yeah, I wrote about that in my book [Rock, Roll & Remember, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1976] if you want to look up the horror stories. That was not one of the more pleasant days of my life. There's a poster here on my wall &mdash I collect things &mdash that says "Notice. Stop. Help save the youth of America. Don't buy Negro records." It goes on with some more wonderful racist remarks that, in the ྖs you say, God, I can't believe these things were hanging around on lampposts. We would trail into town and be confronted by one of these things. It's scary stuff.

Right under that I have a picture of the first integrated concert in Atlanta, Georgia, that we put on, with Sam Cooke as the black artist on an all-white bill. He was playing in front of an integrated audience, which had never happened before.

Goldmine: Even a lot of the Philly artists you presented were black, Chubby Checker being the most prominent example.

Dick Clark: And the Orlons. And Solomon Burke. It's all nonsense.

Goldmine: You're probably sick to death of talking about the years 1959 and ླྀ [the years of the payola scandal]&hellip

Dick Clark: No, never. Those were good years.

Goldmine: In spite of having to testify before Congress at the payola hearings?

Dick Clark: That's the dark side.

Goldmine: You've said that the payola hearings were an issue of greed, not morality. How did you mean that?

Dick Clark: Absolutely. It's not like what we're facing now, which is a controversy over the meanings of the words and people being able to say dirty words in public. This was absolutely founded upon here's a threat to my pocketbook. And the people who held the pocketbook strings in those days, the music publishers, the old-line writers, the artists, the record companies, they were concerted in their effort to squash this new form because they were going to lose money.

And they used as their excuse, and bamboozled enough people into thinking, that this was going to cause the moral decay of American youth. And a lot of people were swept into that, including a lot of prominent Broadway actors and actresses, writers, popular singers of the day: Mitch Miller, Frank Sinatra, Helen Hayes. Here's a wonderful quote from 1960 [reads]: "Congressman Tip O'Neill demands that the FCC investigate payola and protect America's youth from rock 'n' roll, which he calls "a type of sensuous music unfit for impressionable minds."

Goldmine: Do you see a correlation between that and the censorship issue of today?

Dick Clark: No, I think it's a little different. People understand but perhaps don't want to face the problem of do you under­mine the right to free speech just because dirty words bother you? It's a very hairy issue. You might not subscribe to the lyrical content or the thought process that goes behind it, and regard for women is also mixed up in this whole thing, but that's a whole other issue. Whether you want to do that yourself or support it is questionable.

The problem is, you cannot governmentally censor it because then you're in the world of the Nazis. We fought too hard to get the First Amendment and freedom of speech and you can't take it back now.

Goldmine: The courts don't even seem to be able to come up with a consensus. One says 2 Live Crew's album is illegal to sell but another says it's okay for them to perform the same music in front of an audience.

Dick Clark: It'll sort itself out. It's a real easy issue to get people stirred up about because if you quote some of the current-day lyrics, to one mindset it's the most outrageous thing in the world. There are words that, in the old days, you didn't say in public. What these people don't understand is that the language has changed, the mores have changed, the world has changed. It's probably the reflection of a great number of people who are out there finding no problem with this.

Goldmine: Do you see the censorship battle as a racial issue?

Dick Clark: Oh, I'm sure it's probably mixed up in there somewhere, along with the feminist issue. Again it isn't necessarily as it was back in ཷ and ླྀ, one of money.

Goldmine: When you moved American Bandstand to L.A. in 1964 was it hard for you to leave behind all of the kids who had become regulars on the show? How did that move affect you and the show?

Dick Clark: As a matter of fact, that's a premise for a motion picture that may get made one of these days. We had Barry Levinson financing it at one point before Rain Man hit. The whole world changed that year. Kennedy was assassinated, the English came and took over the music world, the Bandstand moved from Philadelphia, Californians were rising to the top of popularity in music and the whole world turned around. Then the Vietnam War came on not too long after that.

Goldmine: There's a story in your book about the first time you played a Beatles record, "She Loves You," on Bandstand, and it just didn't click. The kids didn't think it was anything special and you didn't see what was coming.

Dick Clark: No, I couldn't figure that at all. I was at the dentist this morning and he said, "Dick, you always had a good ear for hits and know when people are gonna be stars," and I said, unashamedly, "Yeah, I'm pretty good at it." I don't point out the two or three I'd like to forget. That's one I certainly missed.

And logically, too, because most of that music that was coming to us from overseas was a reworking of stuff I'd already been through and I couldn't understand. But it was new to the public. And if they hadn't looked that way, if the German girlfriend of Stu Sutcliffe hadn't cut their hair that way and had them dress in leather initially, would it have been as impactful at that moment? Probably yes, but it certainly didn't hurt. Even today, someone like Sin­ead O'Connor, looking bizarre is one of the ways you get attention.

Goldmine: Were you disappointed that the two great acts that never made it ontoBandstand were Elvis and the Beatles?

Dick Clark: Not disappointed, because they were already huge. We settled for secondbest: we'd get telephone calls from Presley and videos from the Beatles.

Goldmine: Did a record ever skip on Bandstand?

Dick Clark: There are a lot of stories like that but I don't remember any of them. There have been stories written about artists who say it happened to them so I presume it did. The only one I remember distinctly was Jimmy Dean appearing and we played the wrong record we played a Dee Clark record. Paul Anka tells a story that he came on once and the record skipped. I'm sure an artist would be much more aware of that than an onlooker or even I. I might've been turned away or talking to the control room or whatever.

Goldmine: Why did the show get scaled back to once a week? Was that your decision or the network's?

Dick Clark: That was ABC's decision, certainly not mine. My guess is that station managers wearied of the format and thought that they could put something else on that would prosper. The truth of it is that they lost the time period.

Goldmine: In the mid-ླྀs you started taking on new shows such as Where The Action Isand Happening. What was behind that decision?

Dick Clark: Where The Action Is was developed as a CBS summer replacement for Jackie Gleason. It had been turned down for a variety of reasons and a guy at CBS asked if we'd do it five days a week as a half-hour and we said yes. It was a wonderful vehicle for a lot of the English artists and American artists. We took it out of doors and did skiing sites and beach sites and parks and nightclubs. It was quite an undertaking.

Goldmine: I associate it more with the American groups, like Paul Revere and the Raiders, than with the English groups.

Dick Clark: They were regulars but we had the Yardbirds, the Who, the Moody Blues, Billy J. Kramer.

Goldmine: You've said that you started losing touch with the music in the ླྀs. Which music did you not take to?

Dick Clark: That was during the first psychedelic period. I couldn't figure it out. I wasn't into drugs so it left me behind. We still presented the artists but I couldn't tie into it because I didn't know what the hell they were talking about.

Goldmine: Yet you produced a movie at that time called Psych-Out, which was a classic ླྀs hippie movie.

Dick Clark: Yeah. Jack Nicholson wrote the original script. It was not accepted but he became a star. It was originally called The Love Children and they changed the title to Psych-Out because they thought the movie would be about bastard kids when they sent it out to the exhibitors they tested the title and when it came back they didn't know what it meant.

Goldmine: Did you feel even more alienated from the music when disco and punk came along in the ྂs?

Dick Clark: Once the drug thing took its position, everything was fine. I had no trouble understanding disco music it's dance music. Punk was just a further extension of Little Richard and Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

Goldmine: The show's ratings didn't really jump when disco came along. That's surprising.

Dick Clark: We lived through the folk period and the psychedelic period when dancing wasn't all in vogue. The show wasn't really based on whether you liked dancing or not it was whether you liked people of that age. What were they wearing, what were they doing?

Goldmine: Do you recall an appearance on the show in 1980 by a group called Public Image Limited? It was one of the more noteworthy moments in rock 'n' roll television in the early ྌs.

Dick Clark: Oh sure, [former Sex Pistol] Johnny Rotten, Johnny Lydon. He wasn't feeling well, he was tired, so he said "I'm not going to do a lip-sync, I'm just going to run around the studio and cause mayhem," and we said fine. It was a very bizarre appearance but typical and memorable.

Goldmine: Any other latter-day appearances that stand out?

Dick Clark: Oh, the Beastie Boys were pretty memorable. The first time Madonna was on was pretty exciting. Same with Cyndi Lauper. The first time Lionel Richie appeared as a solo artist. Prince was of course memorable.

Goldmine: Are you a fan of today's music?

Dick Clark: You don't stop being a fan. Being a fan of music doesn't necessarily mean you're a fan of all music. What your own personal taste is has nothing to do with what you're called upon to present.

Goldmine: There's a controversy in the music industry today involving lip-syncing by artists at supposedly live concerts. A few states are considering laws banning it. What's your feeling on that?

Dick Clark: I don't think it makes a bit of difference because obviously the fans of Madonna and New Kids and Milli Vanilli don't care. [Ed. note: This interview was conducted before the recent revelations regarding the two men known as Milli Vanilli not actually being the singers who made the record.] As long as the people who like the music are happy to be there and enjoy the occasion, they're the ones who have to worry about it. If it bothers you then the easy solution is you don't go. That's another one of those phony premises for whipping people into a frenzy. The world may blow up in the Middle East tomorrow this isn't something to spend time worrying about.

Goldmine: What made you decide to drop out of the show?

Dick Clark: Iwas approaching my 60th birthday and the show was going to go to cable and I thought now's the time to pass over the reins.

Goldmine: What's the current status of the show?

Dick Clark: It's in limbo at the moment. I'm hoping that in the next year or so it'll come on in some form. We've had some interesting inquiries about it. It's one of the most recognizable names it's an icon of sorts. I think it'll be back on television in one form or another.

Goldmine: Do you miss it?

Dick Clark: Yeah, very much. You don't hang around something for that many years and not miss it.

Goldmine: If it comes back would you want to host it again?

Dick Clark: No, I don't think so but I'd like to be asked back on occasion to do something.

Goldmine: Earlier you mentioned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What's your feeling about it?

Dick Clark: I sincerely hope they get it done. It's been a long, hard fight it's long overdue.

Goldmine: Are you upset that you haven't been inducted yet?

Dick Clark: I don't think there's any reason that I should be.

Goldmine: Last year you wrote a mystery novel, Murder On Tour [Mysterious Press, 1989].

Dick Clark: No, that was ghost-written. There was a book producer who called me and asked me did I want to do a mystery on a game show? I said, "No, no, no, what you want to do is get Pat Sajak or Merv Griffin." He then said, "Well, how about a rock 'n' roll tour," and I said that'd be fine.

Goldmine: Was there anything you ever undertook in your career that you wish you'd never done?

Dick Clark: Oh, I'm sure there are a lot of them but I don't dwell on those. Some things, you think, why did I ever do that. It's like having every tooth in your head extracted at the same time.

Goldmine: How have you changed the most in your 40 years in the business?

Dick Clark: I guess like everybody you mature a lot. I wish I'd had a little more maturity when I started but you don't get that when you're in your twenties.

Goldmine: But could you have done what you did if you'd been 10 years older at the time?

Dick Clark: Probably. I don't think that had anything to do with it because my predecessors were older. The only thing that would've helped me had I been a little older and more mature, I might not have made some of the mistakes I made in friendships that I had. There were some people around me that I couldn't realize weren't really my buddies.

Goldmine: How does it feel still being called "America's Oldest Living Teenager" at age 61?

Dick Clark: It's like being America's Oldest living Civil War veteran. That was first written inTV Guide over 20 years ago, as a dig, no less. I said that's a great piece of business. It works very well in introductions, whether you're giving a speech or making a personal appearance. It brings a smile to people's faces it's obviously tongue-in-cheek and the silliest thing so it breaks the ice.

Goldmine: Of everything you've done in your career, of what are you proudest?

Dick Clark: I'm proudest of Bandstand because it proved a point, it stayed on the longest, it's the longest-running variety television show in history &mdash that's in the Guinness Book Of Records. It's been a part of almost four generations. You can't get much better than that.

Article Courtesy of Dick Clark: The Beat Goes On, the Online Library of Music Journalism. For schools interested in subscribing to Rock's Backpages, please click here.

To browse all of the material provided by Rock's Backpages, browse our Dick Clark: The Beat Goes On partner page.


Payola Scandals Show Why Performance Rights Tax Makes No Sense

We've pointed out in the past what a ridiculous contradiction it is that Rep. John Conyers has both fought against "payola" and argued for a performance rights tax on radio at the same time (even going so far as to make the argument that a lack of such a tax was the equivalent of slavery). This, of course, makes no sense. Basically, when left to the actual market, the RIAA implicitly admits that it's quite valuable for musicians to get on the radio: that's why it pays radio stations so often. The whole point of the Performance Rights tax is to force the economic equation in the opposite direction. The RIAA (and SoundExchange) insist the Performance Rights Tax is necessary because radio doesn't have the same promotional value it once had -- but if that's the case, why do labels keep on paying money under the table for payola deals?

Apparently yet another payola case was just settled, leading Ars Technica to not only point out that this undermines the RIAA's entire basis for the Performance Rights tax, but to highlight the payola deals that have come to light over the past few years:

Sony was busted (and paid out much more) for even more egregious violations back in 2005. Sony's promoters went so far as to tell radio stations that the "real people" (they were planted) calling in to request songs had to be more convincing.

"As for Saturday nights, you need to rotate your people," said one message from a promoter. "My guys on the inside say that it's the same couple of girls calling in every week and that they are not inspired enough to be put on the air. They've got to be excited. They need to be going out, getting drunk, or going in the hot tube [sic], or going clubbing. you get the idea."

Later that year, fellow major label Warner Music paid out $5 million to make its own payola problems go away.

In 2006, the world's largest music label, Universal, paid $12 million for a long history of payola. As the New York Times noted, the payola could take many forms, including trips and baseball tickets.

"In April 2004, Universal provided Mr. Michaels--by then a programmer at WHYI-FM in Miami--with a New York hotel room and New York Yankees tickets. The company booked the room under a false name and used a false Social Security number to conceal the transaction, the document states."

Finally, in mid-2006, the last major label, EMI, settled its own payola charges by paying $3.75 million in fines.

In 2007, the broadcasters were busted. CBS, Citadel, Clear Channel, and others paid more than $12 million and signed similar anti-payola consent decrees.

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites &mdash especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise &mdash and every little bit helps. Thank you.


The Payola scandal heats up - HISTORY

Detail of an advertisement from the Hartford Courant featuring "The Big Beat Show" of Alan Freed, March 6, 1960.

In 1955, the most racially integrated public space in Connecticut may have been the rock and roll concerts at Hartford’s State Theater. Despite widespread discrimination against African Americans in jobs, housing, and schools, black and white kids came together here on common ground. Located at the intersection of Main, Morgan, and Village Streets, the State Theater featured a new musical genre that both revolutionized American culture and played a lesser-known, but significant role in the fight for racial justice.

The first rock and roll performers to appear in Hartford were the Penguins, a black doo–wop quartet whose biggest hit, “Earth Angel,” had just reached the Billboard charts. The song was an early “cross-over” hit its popularity breaking the barrier between black and white radio audiences. Bo Diddley, Etta James, Fats Domino, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, and dozens of other performers followed at the State, all with white acts such as Bill Haley and His Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly on the same billing.

Hartford Courant advertisement for the “Rhythm & Blues Revue”, November 20, 1955.

Racial Tensions on the Rise in 1955

Racial turmoil swelled that year it was in 1955 that two white men lynched fourteen-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi. It was also in 1955 that authorities arrested Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the famous bus boycott. On August 1, 1955, the Georgia Board of Education fired all teachers who held membership in the NAACP.

During this same period, the Connecticut state civil rights commission reported that it was “virtually impossible for a Negro to rent a home in a white neighborhood.” The state’s NAACP targeted banks that refused to grant housing loans to black families. Literacy tests for voting were still part of state law. Two skilled electricians, both African Americans, struggled for five years to join an all-white union in order to work at their trade. According to one poll, only 20 percent of Connecticut’s white population supported full integration of the races.

It was remarkable, then, that the local press did not identify black rock and rollers who came to town by their race. Instead, they described them by their particular musical style—both in paid advertisements and in concert reviews. In almost every other case, newspapers of that time labeled African American individuals as “colored” or “Negro,” especially when reporting a crime.

That is not to say Connecticut’s white majority was happy with early rock music. Racist press commentary was frequent, using not-too-subtle code words. Rock and roll was “jungle stuff” wrote one local critic. It was “cannibalistic” and “tribalistic” according to Dr. Francis Braceland, head of Hartford’s exclusive Institute for Living.

The first official crackdown on rock and roll took place on March 19, 1955. Police halted a New Haven festival “when it seemed the dancers were getting out of hand.” Concert goers were all over 21 and vendors legally sold beer, but it was the “uninhibited” and “touchy” dancing that really seemed to disturb the authorities. “There will be no more of that,” stated Chief Francis McManus. Bridgeport then banned all rock events, three of which promoters already scheduled for April. In contrast to these crackdowns, when Hartford’s police chief suggested banning rock and roll (after eight arrests at a concert for fighting) Councilman James Kinsella strongly denounced the proposal as “censorship.”

Alan Freed Helps Integrate Rock and Roll Audiences

1957 Topps trading card image of Alan Freed – “Mr. Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

One man, more than any other, proved responsible for the integration of rock and roll audiences in Connecticut. Alan Freed, a Cleveland disc jockey, first played Rhythm & Blues (R & B, or “race music”) in 1951. Until that time, the music remained largely in the black community. Freed earned national attention for a huge integrated concert in New York just a few months before the first Hartford event. He was in Hartford frequently, acting as master of ceremonies at every concert he produced. “Mr. Rock and Roll” became as popular as the groups he promoted.

Many also credit Freed for coining the term “rock and roll.” While some critics called the music “noise,” Freed understood the historic roots of rock. The music “began on the levees and plantations,” he explained. “It took on folk songs and features blues and rhythm. It’s the rhythm that gets to the kids.” The controversial DJ is remembered today for his part in the payola scandal, a pay-for-play scheme with the record companies. But his legacy is really as the pioneer of rock and roll on radio, and his successful efforts to help integrate a new generation of youth.

The State Theater closed its doors in 1960 and workers demolished it two years later. Alan Freed died in 1965. He was among the first group of inductees—black and white—to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.


  • Publisher &rlm : &lrm Collectables Press 1st edition (February 19, 2007)
  • Language &rlm : &lrm English
  • Paperback &rlm : &lrm 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 &rlm : &lrm 0977379809
  • ISBN-13 &rlm : &lrm 978-0977379804
  • Item Weight &rlm : &lrm 1.6 pounds

Top reviews from the United States

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

After a visit to a radio station here in St. Louis, when I was eight years old, I decided I wanted to be "on the radio". One of my earliest influences - introducing me to the power of "Rhythm & Blues" that blended with Country and other forms to become "Rock & Roll" - was Alan Freed.

In this book John A. Jackson not only details the rise Rock & Roll into our cultural Heritage, but the rise & fall of one of its early creators & iconic pioneers of the airwaves, the man who became known as "Mr. Rock & Roll": Alan Freed.

The book was a massive undertaking, is historically documented with notation-after-notation, and is an absolute "must" if you want to learn about the earliest days of "Rock & Roll Radio Personalities", the history of why & how they acquired the power that they did, how the record labels & music industry contributed to the entire landscape of what we listened to, and how many of the artists were badly treated. even though they were making their bosses rich.

Buy the book, read it, enjoy it, and, most of all, learn how what we listen to today, has its roots firmly planted in yesterday. and how Alan Freed, who made the phrase "Rock & Roll" an indelible part of our music vocabulary, was such a great part of the process.


Contents

Freed was born to a Russian Jewish immigrant father, Charles S. Freed, and Welsh-American mother, Maude Palmer, in Windber, Pennsylvania. In 1933, Freed's family moved to Salem, Ohio, where Freed attended Salem High School, graduating in 1940. While Freed was in high school, he formed a band called the Sultans of Swing in which he played the trombone. Freed's initial ambition was to be a bandleader however, an ear infection put an end to this dream. [ citation needed ]

While attending the Ohio State University, Freed became interested in radio. Freed served in the US Army during World War II and worked as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio. Soon after World War II, Freed landed broadcasting jobs at smaller radio stations, including WKST (New Castle, PA) WKBN (Youngstown, OH) and WAKR (Akron, OH), where, in 1945, he became a local favorite for playing hot jazz and pop recordings. Freed enjoyed listening to these new styles because he liked the rhythms and tunes.

Freed was the first radio disc jockey and concert producer who frequently played and promoted rock and roll he popularized the phrase "rock and roll" on mainstream radio [6] in the early 1950s. (The term already existed, and had been used by Billboard (magazine) as early as 1946 but it remained obscure.) [7]

Several sources suggest that he first discovered the term (as a euphemism for sexual intercourse) on the record Sixty Minute Man by Billy Ward and his Dominoes. [8] [9] The lyrics include the line, "I rock 'em, roll 'em all night long", [10] however, Freed did not accept that inspiration (or that meaning of the expression) in interviews, and explained his view of the term as follows: "Rock ’n roll is really swing with a modern name. It began on the levees and plantations, took in folk songs, and features blues and rhythm". [11]

He helped bridge the gap of segregation among young teenage Americans, presenting music by black artists (rather than cover versions by white artists) on his radio program, and arranging live concerts attended by racially mixed audiences. [12] Freed appeared in several motion pictures as himself. In the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, Freed tells the audience that "rock and roll is a river of music which has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, ragtime, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed greatly to the big beat." [13]

WAKR Akron Edit

In 1945, Alan Freed joined WAKR (1590 AM) in Akron, Ohio and became a local favorite, playing hot jazz and pop recordings. The radio editor for the Akron Beacon Journal followed Freed and his "Request Review" nightly program of dance. When he left the station, the non-compete clause in his contract limited his ability to find work elsewhere, and he was forced to take the graveyard shift at Cleveland's WJW radio where he eventually made history playing the music he called "Rock and Roll". [14]

WJW Cleveland Edit

In the late 1940s, while working at WAKR, Freed met Cleveland record store owner Leo Mintz. Record Rendezvous, one of Cleveland's largest record stores, had begun selling rhythm and blues records. Mintz told Freed that he had noticed increased interest in the records at his store, and encouraged him to play them on the radio. [15] [16] Freed moved to Cleveland in 1951, still under a non-compete clause with WAKR. However, in April, through the help of William Shipley, RCA's Northern Ohio distributor, he was released from the non-compete clause. He was then hired by WJW radio for a midnight program sponsored by Main Line, the RCA Distributor, and Record Rendezvous. Freed peppered his speech with hipster language, and, with a rhythm and blues record called "Moondog" as his theme song, broadcast R&B hits into the night. [ citation needed ]

Mintz proposed buying airtime on Cleveland radio station WJW (850 AM), which would be devoted entirely to R&B recordings, with Freed as host. [15] On July 11, 1951, Freed began playing rhythm and blues records on WJW. [17] While R&B records were played for many years on lower powered, inner city radio stations aimed at African-Americans, this is arguably the first time that authentic R&B was featured regularly on a major, mass audience station. Freed called his show "The Moondog House" and billed himself as "The King of the Moondoggers". He had been inspired by an offbeat instrumental called "Moondog Symphony" that had been recorded by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, aka "Moondog". Freed adopted the record as his show's theme music. His on-air manner was energetic, in contrast to many contemporary radio presenters of traditional pop music, who tended to sound more subdued and low-key in manner. He addressed his listeners as if they were all part of a make-believe kingdom of hipsters, united in their love for black music. [17] He also began popularizing the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the music he played. [18]

Later that year, Freed promoted dances and concerts featuring the music he was playing on the radio. He was one of the organizers of a five-act show called "The Moondog Coronation Ball" on March 21, 1952, at the Cleveland Arena. [19] This event is now considered to have been the first major rock and roll concert. [4] Crowds attended in numbers far beyond the arena's capacity, and the concert was shut down early due to overcrowding and a near-riot. [19] Freed gained a priceless notoriety from the incident. WJW immediately increased the airtime allotted to Freed's program, and his popularity soared. [17]

In those days, Cleveland was considered by the music industry to be a "breakout" city, where national trends first appeared in a regional market. Freed's popularity made the pop music business take notice. Soon, tapes of Freed's program, Moondog, began to air in the New York City area over station WNJR 1430 (now WNSW), in Newark, New Jersey. [17] [20]

New York stations Edit

In July 1954, following his success on the air in Cleveland, Freed moved to WINS (1010 AM) in New York City. Hardin, the original Moondog, later took a court action suit against WINS for damages against Freed for infringement in 1956, arguing prior claim to the name "Moondog", under which he had been composing since 1947. Hardin collected a $6,000 judgment from Freed, as well as an agreement to give up further usage of the name Moondog. [21] Freed left the station in May 1958 "after a riot at a dance in Boston featuring Jerry Lee Lewis". [22] WINS eventually became an around-the-clock Top 40 rock and roll radio station, and would remain so until April 19, 1965, long after Freed left and three months after he had died—when it became an all-news outlet.

Earlier, in 1956, Freed had hosted "Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party" [23] on CBS Radio from New York. [24] [25]

Freed also worked at WABC (AM) starting in May 1958 but was fired from that station on November 21, 1959 [26] after refusing to sign a statement for the FCC that he had never accepted payola bribes. [22]

He subsequently arrived at a small Los Angeles station, KDAY (1580 AM) and worked there for about one year. [27]

Film and television Edit

Freed also appeared in a number of pioneering rock and roll motion pictures during this period. These films were often welcomed with tremendous enthusiasm by teenagers because they brought visual depictions of their favorite American acts to the big screen, years before music videos would present the same sort of image on the small television screen.

Freed appeared in several motion pictures that presented many of the big musical acts of his day, including:

  • 1956: Rock Around the Clock featuring Freed, Bill Haley & His Comets, The Platters, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, Lisa Gaye.
  • 1956: Rock, Rock, Rock[28] featuring Freed, Teddy Randazzo, Tuesday Weld, Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Johnny Burnette, LaVern Baker, The Flamingos, The Moonglows.
  • 1957: Mister Rock and Roll featuring Freed, Rocky Graziano and Teddy Randazzo, Lionel Hampton, Ferlin Husky, Frankie Lymon, Little Richard, Brook Benton, Chuck Berry, Clyde McPhatter, LaVern Baker, Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
  • 1957: Don't Knock the Rock featuring Freed, Bill Haley and His Comets, Alan Dale, Little Richard and the Upsetters, The Treniers, Dave Appell and His Applejacks.
  • 1959: Go, Johnny Go! featuring Freed, Jimmy Clanton, Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, The Flamingos, Jackie Wilson, The Cadillacs, Sandy Stewart, Jo Ann Campbell, Harvey Fuqua and The Moonglows. Chuck Berry also played Freed's pal and sidekick, a groundbreaking role in those days.

Freed was given a weekly primetime TV series, The Big Beat (TV program), which premiered on ABC on July 12, 1957. [29] The show was scheduled for a summer run, with the understanding that if there were enough viewers, it would continue into the 1957–58 television season. Although the ratings for the show were strong, it was suddenly terminated. The Wall Street Journal summarized the end of the program as follows. "Four episodes into “The Big Beat,” Freed's prime-time TV music series on ABC, an uproar was caused when African-American artist Frankie Lymon was seen on TV dancing with a white audience member". Two more episodes were aired [30] but the show was suddenly cancelled. [31] Some sources indicate that the cancellation was triggered by an uproar among ABC's local affiliates in the South. [32] [33]

During this period, Freed was seen on other popular programs of the day, including To Tell the Truth, where he is seen defending the new "rock and roll" sound to the panelists, who were all clearly more comfortable with swing music: Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, and Kitty Carlisle.

Legal trouble, payola scandal Edit

In 1958, Freed faced controversy in Boston when he told the audience, "It looks like the Boston police don't want you to have a good time." As a result, Freed was arrested and charged with inciting to riot, and was fired from his job at WINS. [34]

Freed's career was significantly affected when it was shown that he had accepted payola (payments from record companies to play specific records), a practice that was highly controversial at the time. He initially denied taking payola [35] but later admitted to his fans that he had accepted bribes. [36] Freed refused to sign a statement for the FCC while working at WABC (AM) to state that he never received bribes. [22] That led to his termination. [37] [26]

In 1960, payola was made illegal. In December 1962, after being charged on multiple counts of commercial bribery, Freed pled guilty to two and was fined three hundred dollars and a suspended sentence. [38] [39]

There was also a series of conflict of interest allegations, that he had taken songwriting co-credits that he did not deserve. [4] The most notable example was Chuck Berry's "Maybellene". Taking partial credit allowed him to receive part of a song's royalties, which he could help increase by heavily promoting the record on his own program. (Berry was eventually able to regain the writing credit.) In another example, Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows insisted Freed's name was not merely a credit on the song "Sincerely" and that he did actually co-write it (which would still be a conflict of interest for Freed to promote). Another group, The Flamingos also claimed that Freed had wrongly taken writing credit for some of their songs. [40]

In 1964 Freed was indicted by a federal grand jury for tax evasion and ordered to pay $37,920 in taxes on income he had allegedly not reported. Most of that income was said to be from payola sources. [41]

On August 22, 1943, Freed married first wife, Betty Lou Bean. They had two children, daughter Alana (deceased) and son Lance. They divorced on December 2, 1949. On August 12, 1950, Freed married Marjorie J. Hess. They also had two children, daughter Sieglinde and son Alan Freed, Jr.. They divorced on July 25, 1958. On August 8, 1958, Freed married Inga Lil Boling with whom he had no children. They remained together until his death. [42]

Because of the negative publicity from the payola scandal, no prestigious station would employ Freed, and he moved to the West Coast in 1960, where he worked at KDAY/1580 in Santa Monica, California. [27] In 1962, after KDAY refused to allow him to promote "rock and roll" stage shows, Freed moved to WQAM in Miami, Florida, arriving in August 1962. [43] Recognizing that his career in major markets might be over, his consumption of alcohol increased and the job lasted only two months. [44]

During 1964, he returned to the Los Angeles area for a short stint at the Long Beach station KNOB/97.9. [45] [46] [47]

Living in the Racquet Club Estates neighborhood of Palm Springs, California, [48] Freed died on January 20, 1965, from uremia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism, at the age of 43. Prior to his death, the FBI had continued to maintain that he owed $38,000 for tax evasion, but Freed did not have the financial means to pay that amount. [38]

He was initially interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. [49] In March 2002, Judith Fisher Freed, his daughter-in-law, carried his ashes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. [50] On August 1, 2014, the Hall of Fame asked Alan Freed's son, Lance Freed, to remove the ashes permanently, which he did. [51] The Freed family later interred his ashes at Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery beneath a jukebox-shaped memorial featuring Freed's image. [52]

An archived sample of Freed's introduction on the Moondog Show was used by Ian Hunter in the opening of the now-classic song "Cleveland Rocks", from Hunter's 1979 album You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic.

The 1978 motion picture American Hot Wax was inspired by Freed's contribution to the rock and roll scene. Although director Floyd Mutrux created a fictionalized account of Freed's last days in New York radio by using real-life elements outside of their actual chronology, the film does accurately convey the fond relationship between Freed, the musicians he promoted, and the audiences who listened to them. The film starred Tim McIntire as Freed and included cameo appearances by Chuck Berry, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Frankie Ford and Jerry Lee Lewis, performing in the recording studio and concert sequences.

On January 23, 1986, Freed was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. [53] In 1988, he was also posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. [54] On December 10, 1991, Freed was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [55] The VH1 series Behind The Music produced an episode on Freed featuring Roger Steffens. In 1998, The Official Website of Alan Freed went online with the jumpstart from Brian Levant and Michael Ochs archives as well as a home page biography written by Ben Fong-Torres. On February 26, 2002, Freed was honored at the Grammy Awards with the Trustees Award. In 2017 he was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan.

Freed was used as a character in Stephen King's short story, "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band", [56] and was portrayed by Mitchell Butel in its television adaptation for the Nightmares & Dreamscapes mini-series. [ citation needed ] He was the subject of a 1999 television movie, Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story, starring Judd Nelson and directed by Andy Wolk. [57] The 1997 film Telling Lies in America stars Kevin Bacon as a disc jockey with a loose resemblance to Freed. [58] Jack Macbrayer portrayed Freed on the Comedy Central show Drunk History in a segment on Freed's legacy. The Cleveland Cavaliers' mascot Moondog is named in honor of Freed. [56]

Freed is mentioned in The Ramones' song "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" as one of the band's idols. [56] Other songs that reference Freed include "The King of Rock 'n Roll" by Terry Cashman and Tommy West, "Ballrooms of Mars" by Marc Bolan, "They Used to Call it Dope" by Public Enemy, "Payola Blues" by Neil Young, "Done Too Soon" by Neil Diamond, "The Ballad of Dick Clark" by Skip Battin, a member of the Byrds, and "This Is Not Goodbye, Just Goodnight" by Kill Your Idols.

Freed's importance to the musical genre is confirmed by his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his 1991 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The DJ was also inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988. The organization's Web page states that "despite his personal tragedies, Freed’s innovations helped make rock and roll and the Top-40 format permanent fixtures of radio". [59]

The Wall Street Journal in 2015 recalled "Freed’s sizable contributions to rock ’n’ roll and to teenagers’ more tolerant view of integration in the 1950s". The publication praised the help he gave to "hundreds of black and white artists" and said that "his tireless efforts helped create thousands of jobs for studio musicians, engineers, record producers, concert promoters and instrument manufacturers". [60]

One source said that "No man had as much influence on the coming culture of our society in such a short period of time as Alan Freed, The real King of Rock n Roll". [61] Another source summarized his contribution as follows: [62]

Alan Freed has secured a place in American music history as the first important rock 'n' roll disc jockey. His ability to tap into and promote the emerging black musical styles of the 1950s to a white mainstream audience is seen as a vital step in rock's increasing dominance over American culture.


The Drugola Scandal

WASHINGTON, June 20—Has the agony of Watergate taught us nothing about how to handle scandal?

The Columbia Broadcasting System, a corporation active in many busi nesses, earned $82 million last year. Its fastest growing profit center, which accounts for nearly 30 per cent of its earnings, is the division that produces C.B.S. records and tapes.

C.B.S. is by far the largest producer of records and tapes in the youth dominated music world, an industry that takes in revenues of $2 billion year—more than all professional sports and the entire film industry combined. Grand juries and district attorneys are now trying to find out if the music industry is shot through with a higher dollar volume of venality and corrup tion than has ever been seen in Ameri can business history.

The corporate corruption being in vestigated includes the old‐fashioned payola—bribery to disk jockeys by record companies—with a new, ethnic wrinkle: One C.B.S. Records executive has reportedly told a grand jury that $250,000 in cash has been slipped to disk jockeys who direct their program ing to black audiences.

But the return of payola, even on an unprecedented scale, is not the whole story: Federal investigators are looking into the use of hard drugs— cocaine and heroin—by the business men of music to bribe their distribu tion outlets, or to entertain their entertainers.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs unearthed the first lead while investigating Pasquale Fal cone, a reputed New Jersey mobster, indicted on drug charges on Feb. 7. He turned out to be sharing an office with a former promotion man at Co lumbia Records, whose papers led to David Wynshaw, until recently direc tor of artist relations at C.B.S. Records Group.

Since that time, at least three offi cial investigations have been launched into the use of cocaine and other drugs as a new form of payola in the music business, along with Mafia in filtration of the music industry's dis tribution system.

Beginning what may be the second most massive cover‐up of the past twelve months, C.B.S. fired its records division president, Clive Davis, charg ing him in a curious lawsuit with the music world's equivalent of spit ting on the sidewalk: bilking the com pany of $94,000 in phony expenses.

The cancer in the music business is not in padded expense accounts, and the panic‐stricken men who head C.B.S. today know it the cancer what killed singers Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix—the new currency of the record industry, hard drugs.

What action has C.B.S. taken so far? To build a defense against stockholder lawsuits, it has fired and sued Mr. Davis to give the appearance of self investigation, it has asked its regular law firm—Cravath, Swaine & Moore— to poke around, but the presiding part ner of the law firm is Roswell L, Gil ?? who also happens to he one of the best and the brightest members of the board of directors of C.B.S.

The men at Black Rock (as the dark granite structure that houses C.B.S. headquarters is affectionately called) could not be more dunderheaded. In stead of building legal barricades and bringing in “old faces” to run C.B.S. Records, C.B.S. chairman and chief executive officer William Paley should turn to the men at C.B.S. best equipped to ferret out facts and expose scandal.

Iɽ like to hear Dan Rather cross examine an official of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs about what is known so far, and to watch Dan Schorr on the steps of the court house in Newark reporting the latest leaks from the grand jury room on the penetration of the record industry by Mafia drug peddlers.

A great many Americans would gain confidence in our system if they were to hear Walter Cronkite narrate hard‐hitting documentary—“The Sell ing of Rock Music”—which would pull no punches about the involvement of smooth‐faced Madison‐Avenue execu tives in the illegal passage of cash, and would skewer those who claim as justification some perversion of loy alty to the team.


Watch the video: Dick Clark discusses the Payola Scandal -