Henry Stone Paid Alan Freed Payola To Play His Records On The Air

Alan Freed publicity photo

Alan Freed publicity photo

“Did I ever pay Alan Freed to play my records on the radio? Absolutely I did. Course I did. I paid him good. Look, y’know what I paid him? I’ll tell ya what I paid him.

In 1955 when I was on the road with my million selling record “Hearts Of Stone” by Otis Williams and The Charms, he was working as a disc jockey in Akron, Ohio, not Cleveland yet, he hadn’t moved to Cleveland.

Alan Freed was in Akron, Ohio, and I went up to see him, and I was sittin there waiting for him with my little fifty dollas in my hand yknow, or hundred dollas, whatever it was, and I went to give him some money and he says, “Henry, do me a big favor, don’t give me the money, take me and my wife to the supermarket and get me some groceries.”

And that’s what I did with Alan Freed in Akron Ohio in 1955. I took him and his wife grocery shopping. And the next time he was on the radio, he was playing Otis Williams and The Charms.

Then later on I guess in 1958, 59′, I guess it was about that time when I had “Mexico Bound” and a few of those Chart Records I had…doo wop records…. I remember bringin’ em up to New York City.

Alan Freed was a big man then in New York City, so to get to see him in the studio, forget it about it, ya hadda, you could see him, but you had to go through the whole routine.

I remember walkin’ in that radio studio and sittin’ right there was Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Blayne, I can name about 5 different guys, top promotion guys yknow, Juggie Gale, on and on, just sitting there waiting, and they all knew me, “Ey Henry, man! How ya doin’? I understand ya started your Chart Label.”

Then Allen Freed walked in, saw me, and he called me right into the office. Everybody in there all looked around like…”Motherfucker. What the hell?”

All these powers sittin’ there and Henry Stone walks in and Allen Freed goes like this, “C’mon in,” and takes my record and puts it right on the air in New York City. “Mexico Bound,” pa pa padda pa. It wasnt that big a record, but hey, you do what you gotta do.


After he got busted for “payola,” I got him an apartment on Miami Beach. I put him up at the Morton Towers with Steve Alaimo as his neighbor. I got him a job at WQAM, and I sent him up a case of Scotch a week.

He was drinkin’ real heavy and he used to beat the shit out of his wife.

Then he moved to Palm Springs and drank himself to death.”


©Jacob Katel and HenryStoneMusic USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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©HenryStoneMusic USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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