Often credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll", while working as a disc jockey at Cleveland, Ohio radio station, on March 21, 1952 he organized the first rock and roll concert called "The Moondog Coronation Ball". The event, attended mainly by African-Americans, proved a huge drawing card, and two years later he moved to New York City to WINS radio station where he introduced white teens to the new sound.
Alan Freed died in a Palm Springs, California hospital in 1965 suffering from uraemia and cirrhosis of the liver. He was interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
In 1986, he was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, built in Cleveland because of him. In 1988, he was also posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.