Music Mogul Joe Smith Donates Interview Archives to Library of Congress
Posted June 21, 2012
Former Capitol Records/EMI president Joe Smith has donated 238 hours of interviews with famous musicians to the Library of Congress. The tapes feature conversations with such stars as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Elton John and many others, over 200 in fact. According the the Library's website, they have digitized the recordings and will make them available in its Capitol Hill reading room. The Library also plans to offer the option of streaming some of them on its website later this year.
Smith - who signed such music icons as The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Linda Ronstadt during his two year stint as president of Capitol/EMI - published a book in 1988 titled Off The Record which included excerpts from from his tapes. However, the tapes donated to the library are completely unabridged and feature some very candid conversation not revealed in the book.
"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," said the 84-year-old Smith in the Library's statement. "I hope that generations to come will benefit from hearing the voices of these brilliant artists and industry luminaries recounting their personal histories. I'm just thrilled that the Library of Congress has agreed to preserve and safeguard these audio artifacts."