Disc Jockey Carl Henry, the “Alan Freed” of Rhode Island, introduced R&B and Rock ’n’ Roll to R.I.’s teens in the 1950s
Carl Henry was the disc jockey who introduced Rhode Islanders to the sounds of Rock ’n’ Roll in the 1950s. From 1952 until the end of the decade, his radio shows on WRIB and WPAW exposed the “hidden sounds” of Rhythm & Blues to everyone who cared to listen, but it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that Caucasian teenagers glommed onto him with a passion. He was a true Rock ’n’ Roll pioneer.
His Providence record shop, “Carl’s Diggins” (originally adjacent to the Celebrity Club in Randall Square then later on North Main Street), was open from 1952 to 1985 and was the hot spot to find those great discs. He was also a concert promoter (he brought The Rolling Stones to the Loew’s State Theatre in 1964) and was a lifelong jazz aficionado and champion of jazz musicians. Cleveland and New York City had Alan Freed, Buffalo had George “The Hound” Lorenz and Rhode Island had Carl Henry!