June 18, 2012

News: Former Capitol and EMI Records Head Joe Smith Donates Vast Archive Of Musician Interviews To Library Of Congress

Full story below courtesy of Artsbeat

A trove of interviews with more than 200 giants of the music industry including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez and Tina Turner has been donated to the Library of Congress by Joe Smith, the former president of Capitol Records/EMI.

The recorded recollections include Les Paul’s description of how he created a prototype of the electric guitar in 1929,  Steven Tyler’s discussion of his drug addiction,  David Bowie’s description of Mick Jagger as conservative, Paul McCartney’s talking about his professional superiority and Herb Jeffries and Dave Brubeck’s recollections of working in segregated clubs.

Mr. Smith had compiled excerpts of the interviews in a 1988 book, “Off The Record,” The library now has the complete and unabridged versions.

“These frank and poignant oral histories of many of the nation’s musical icons give us unique insights into them as artists, entertainers and human beings,” the librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, said.

Mr. Smith, who is now 84, said, “In recent years it dawned on me that, if anything, the significance of recollections from Jerry Lee Lewis, Mick Jagger, Smokey Robinson, Ahmet Ertegun, Herb Alpert, Ruth Brown and all the other notables I was fortunate enough to interview, are truly part of the fabric of our cultural history.” The library plans to stream some of the recordings later this year on its Web site, www.loc.gov

 

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