Listen to Joe Smith’s talks with Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, more


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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:



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--Randy Lewis