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Summary:

The Library of Congress this week started streaming interviews with music superstars including Ray Charles, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. The tapes, donated by former record exec Joe Smith, are truly a must-listen for music lovers.

If you’re a music historian or just love music, you need to check out a set of interviews now available via streaming from the Library of Congress.

The conversations were taped in the mid to late 1980s by Joe Smith, a former DJ and retired music business executive, and run the gamut from Artie Shaw — the legendary (and difficult) clarinetist and band leader — to B.B. King and Mick Jagger.  Part one of the Yoko Ono interview is a must for any Beatles fan, if only to hear her side of the “Yoko-broke-up-the-Beatles” story. In fact, she says, Lennon was not the first Beatle to want to leave the band. Who was? Listen and find out.

Another nugget: In 1986, Mick Jagger told Smith that the Rolling Stones hadn’t created a good song in ten years. He also talks about the role Andrew Oldham played  — moving the Stones away from their blues core. This is good stuff. (Also, Mick talks with his mouth full.)

Smith taped nearly 200 interviews — the roster also includes music impresario Ahmet Ertegun and superstar producer Quincy Jones.  He subsequently donated them to the Library of Congress, which made the first 25 interviews available this week. More here from The Boston Globe. 

This is definitely old-style audio tape but the hissing actually sort of adds to the whole experience. These are conversations, not staged — there are no preambles or intros. Perfect listening for the weekend. Check them out.

 Photo courtesy of  Flickr user Doctor Noe

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  1. Thank you for sharing this.

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