Joe Smith was a big record company executive who interviewed dozens and dozens of music icons for a book he wrote in the 1980s. He just donated all the raw tapes from those interviews to the Library of Congress, and you can listen tot hem on the web, for free. Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, DIck Clark, Graham Nash, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Steven Tyler, Bo Diddley . . . . an amazing who's who of the history of rock & roll.
Some of the highlights:
B.B. King on the blues:
"I feel it’s dying as we’ve known it. But there will continuously be blues as long as there are people on the planet, because people gonna continuously have problems."
Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones’ outlaw image:
"I think there was a lot of time wasted with this band with all that image stuff. And eventually, of course, I think it contributed to Brian (Jones) cracking up completely and to a certain extent Keith (Richards) becoming a junkie."
Mick Jagger on The Beatles’ early influence:
"Both Keith and Brian were very much influenced by The Beatles – everyone was at that point. I must say I don’t think I was as much as they were. One envied their success, but I never really liked their music as much."
Yoko Ono on the breakup of The Beatles:
"Paul was the only one trying to hold The Beatles together. But, then again, the other three felt that Paul was trying to hold The Beatles together as HIS band. They were getting to be like Paul’s band, which they didn’t like….There was an incredible period of unpleasantness for John, so he was in fact delighted that he was out of it."
Paul McCartney on drugs:
"That was one hell of a period – completely different, like another lifetime. We were like different people by then because of the drugs thing. … We’d just become introduced to it. Sgt. Pepper owes a lot to drugs, to pot. That was us getting into that. It was rather innocent compared to what you talk about these days. It was very innocent. It was never seriously heavy stuff. Things got heavy later with one or two of us. Then, it was quite mild. It was like a drink. It was nothing. It was never lethal. It was never that crazy. We were never sort of out on the floor like you’d hear about Stones sessions where you couldn’t wake the guitarist up. … Possibilities started to come in like mad. So that was a very rich period."
"I’m more of a sucker. I’m more of a fan. If it’s wearing a pink hat and a red nose and he plays a guitar upside down, I’ll go look at it. I love to see people being dangerous."
A bunch of them are streaming free, right now. Click here to check them out.