This week, the Library of Congress announced that retired music industry executive Joe Smith has donated over 200 hours of candid interviews with music’s biggest names, including Bo Diddly, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Quincy Jones. Smith, who served as President of Capitol Records and signed legends including Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison, conducted the one-on-one, candid interviews between 1985 and 1988, and compiled excerpts for his 1988 book “Off the Record.” Now the complete, unabridged interviews serve as a unique history of popular music, representing all genres from rock ‘n’ roll to rhythm and blues to country-western, and will be available for the public to enjoy for generations to come.
In a statement from the Library, Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Congress, said “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 world knows these great musicians through their songs, but Joe Smith has provided us an intimate window into their lives through their own words.”
To hear more about the collection from the curator himself, watch this clip from CBS Evening News.