Listen to Joe Smith's talks with Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, more
Taped interviews that veteran record executive Joe Smith conducted for his 1988 book “Off the Record” and which he is donating to the Library of Congress this week [June 19] contain a storehouse worth of anecdotes from a couple hundred of the biggest names in pop music.
Talking to rock, pop, R&B, folk and jazz musicians as well as fellow record label chiefs, high-profile managers, songwriters and others, Smith got access to many key figures who are often reticent to talk to the press.
Pop & Hiss is posting some excerpts of the unabridged interviews, collectively known as “The Joe Smith Collection,” that are entering the Library of Congress for posterity, the subject of a news feature in a separate post.
Here’s Paul McCartney talking about the role that drugs played in the Beatles’ evolving music circa “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in 1967:
Bob Dylan talks about his musical idols before Woody Guthrie and other folk pioneers came onto his radar screen, saying, “Little Richard was really the one who taught me…”:
Dylan also talks about his lack of interest in being “the spokesman for his generation" and “the voice of the '60s folk-protest movement,” as he often is tagged.
Little Richard recalls hearing “Tutti Frutti” on the radio when he was home in Georgia before realizing it had become a major hit.
Dick Clark on taking “American Bandstand” from a local phenomenon in Philadelphia to national broadcast on ABC-TV:
Photo: Veteran record executive Joe Smith with stacks of digitized interviews he is donating to the Library of Congress. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.