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Legendary Rock DJ Alan Freed’s Ashes Removed from Rock Hall as Beyonce Exhibit Moves In

Alan Freed and Beyonce
Hulton Archive / Christopher Polk, Getty Images

The place of honor reserved for Alan Freed’s ashes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is being taken away, and the legendary DJ’s surviving family members aren’t happy about it.

ABC News Radio reports that Freed’s son Lance claims Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris told him Freed’s remains need to be removed from the Hall because, as he allegedly put it, “people walk past the exhibit and your dad’s ashes and they scratch their heads and can’t figure out what this thing is, and we’d like you to come pick up the ashes.” The display, part of a larger exhibit paying tribute to Freed’s many cultural contributions during the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, had been in place since 2002.

“We didn’t have a choice,” Lance Freed told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’m more than disappointed. I don’t feel it’s appropriate, but I don’t own the place. After 12 years, we thought this was going to be his final resting place.”

In his defense, Harris explained to the paper that his decision was made because “the concept of human remains on display for the public is something that museums in general are getting away from,” and he vowed that in spite of Freed’s beliefs to the contrary, the exhibit honoring his father isn’t being moved or altered beyond the removal of the urn containing the ashes, which are set to be replaced with a pair of the senior Freed’s microphones. It’s also been noted that this change is taking place as the Rock Hall opens a new display centered around pop icon Beyonce‘s outfits, but Harris argued that it’s reflective of the music’s continual evolution: “Rock and roll isn’t just about yesterday. It continues to evolve, and we continue to embrace it and refine our operations.”

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