Max C. Freedman

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Max Charles Freedman
BornJanuary 8, 1893 (1893-01-08)
DiedOctober 8, 1962 (1962-10-09) (aged 69)
Other namesRay Freedman
Occupation(s)Songwriter, lyricist

Max Charles Freedman ( Friedman; January 8, 1893 – October 8, 1962)[1] was an American songwriter and lyricist, best remembered for co-writing the song "Rock Around the Clock" .


Freedman was born in Philadelphia, and became a radio announcer, writer and entertainer, before joining the staff of a music publishing company. He joined ASCAP in 1942. One of his first successes as a writer, credited as Ray Freedman, was "Sioux City Sue", a hit record for the song's co-writer Dick Thomas in 1945, and later recorded by many others including Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Bob Wills and Willie Nelson.[2] His other successful songs, several of which were written with Morty Berk and Frank Capano, included "Dreamy Old New England Moon", "Heartbreaker" (1947), and "Tea Leaves" (1948).[3][4]

Freedman co-wrote the words and music to the landmark song "Rock Around the Clock" with "Jimmy DeKnight", a pseudonym used by composer, music publisher, and promoter James E. Myers.[5] The song was copyrighted on March 31, 1953, although there is evidence that it was written in 1952. There are also claims that Freedman wrote the song in its entirety.[6]

Although Bill Haley & His Comets were supposed to be the first to record it, a dispute between Myers and Dave Miller, the owner of Essex Records, prevented Haley from doing so. The first recording of the song was made by an Italian-American novelty group, Sonny Dae & His Knights. Haley finally recorded it in 1954 for Decca Records and in 1955, the song became a no. 1 record, one of the first of the rock and roll era.[6]

Freedman died in 1962 at the age of 69.[6]



  • Dawson, Jim. Rock Around the Clock: The Record that Started the Rock Revolution. Backbeat Books, 2005. ISBN 978-0879308292
  • John Swenson. Bill Haley. London: W.H. Allen, 1982. ISBN 978-0491029476
  • Haley, John W. and John von Hoelle. Sound and Glory. Dyne-American, 1990. ISBN 978-1878970015