Art, Galleries & Museums
Intimate Recordings of Music Legends Donated PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Library of Congress   
Monday, 18 June 2012 13:54

Joe Smith Donates Recorded Interviews with Music’s Who’s Who to the Library of Congress

More than 25 years ago, retired music executive Joe Smith accomplished a Herculean feat—he got more than 200 celebrated singers, musicians and industry icons to talk about their lives, music, experiences and contemporaries. The Library of Congress announced today that Smith has donated this treasure trove of unedited sound recordings to the nation’s library.

The list of noted artists and executives is a veritable who’s who in the music industry.  They include Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Elton John, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Sting, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez, James Taylor, Dick Clark, Tina Turner, Tom Jones, B. B. King, Quincy Jones, David Geffen, Mickey Hart, Harry Belafonte and many others.  All types of popular music are represented—from rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, rhythm & blues and pop to big-band, heavy metal, folk and country-western.

While president of Capitol Records/EMI, Smith recorded 238 hours of interviews over two years, excerpts of which he compiled and presented in his groundbreaking book, “Off the Record,” published by Warner Books in 1988.  These candid and unabridged interviews have been digitized by the Library and initially will be accessible in its Capitol Hill reading room.  Some of the recordings also will be streamed on the Library’s website ( later this year.

The Joe Smith Collection is an invaluable addition to the Library’s comprehensive collection of recorded sound,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “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.

”Smith’s career in music started in the 1950s at the dawn of the rock ‘n’ roll era.  Following his graduation from Yale, Smith worked as a sportscaster and later as a disc jockey at WMEX and WBZ in Boston.  He transitioned into record promotions when he moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and rose to legendary status in the industry as president of three major labels—Warner Bros., Elektra/Asylum and Capitol/EMI.  Smith signed such notable artists as the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles.

His relationship with the industry’s creative community over four decades enabled him to compile a history of popular music by presenting the artists’ stories in their own voices.  One critic wrote that “Joe Smith has done what no historian, musician, pop critic or rock writer has been able to do. He’s compiled a history of popular music, ranging from the big bands of the ‘20s to the chart-toppers of today … a paper jukebox that’s chock-full of pop.”

A couple of decades following the success of his book, Smith (now 84) envisioned sharing his original unabridged interviews with scholars, researchers and the American public. “In recent years, it dawned on me that, if anything, the significance of recollections from Jerry Lee Lewis, Mick Jagger, Smokey Robinson, Ahmet Ertegun, Herb Alpert, Ruth Brown and all the other notables I was fortunate enough to interview, are truly part of the fabric of our cultural history,” said Smith. “I wanted to share this treasure trove with any and all who might be interested. The Library of Congress is, clearly, the venue most appropriate and best equipped to do just that now and into the future.  I hope that generations to come will benefit from hearing the voices of these brilliant artists and industry luminaries recounting their personal histories.  I'm just thrilled that the Library of Congress has agreed to preserve and safeguard these audio artifacts.”

As an insider, Smith connected with the artists on a personal level, leading to some interesting revelations.

• Bo Diddley talking about his own death
• Mickey Hart’s revealing story about his father
• Steven Tyler’s problems with drug addiction
• Peter Frampton’s short-lived popularity
• Bob Dylan’s surprising assessment of the turbulent ‘60s
• David Bowie’s description of Mick Jagger as conservative
• Paul McCartney’s frank admission of professional superiority
• Les Paul’s creation of an electric guitar in 1929
• Motown’s restrictive work environment
• Herb Jeffries’ and Dave Brubeck’s recollections of working in a racially segregated society

The recordings in the Joe Smith Collection will be housed in the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., a state-of-the-art facility that was made possible through the generosity of David Woodley Packard and the Packard Humanities Institute, with benefaction from the U.S. Congress.  The Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division’s collections include nearly 3 million sound recordings.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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The Putnam Museum will have the first in the world! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Jenna Smith   
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:23
On June 29 the Putnam will reveal the new affiliation with a highly respected organization and their world renown brand. The Putnam will be the first Giant Screen Theater in the world to launch this relationship that promises to attract people to the Quad Cities from around our region.

"Whistles" at the Muscatine Art Center PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Lynn Bartenhagen   
Friday, 15 June 2012 10:26

The Muscatine Art Center is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit by Iowa City artist, Connie Roberts on June 17 with an artist’s reception on Sunday, July 1 from 1 to 5pm in conjunction with the annual Ice Cream Social.

Connie Roberts call herself a "thing maker."  In her work, she bridges the realms of fine art and folk art and tackles many subjects with sharp wit and unrestrained humor. Trained as a figurative painter, Roberts carves and then paints sculpture, which also happens to be whistles. “Every Piece has a whistle somewhere in it – like a signature. I love building sculptures out of wood and complicating the process by making them whistle, so that they become engaging toys as well as art."

Roberts incorporates a variety of wood in her work, occasionally using hardwoods for smaller, more fragile pieces. She uses power tools for major cutting, sanding, and drilling, and dremels for fine carving and finish work. Acrylic paints are then applied to her sculptures, with a final coat of shellac for a mellow patina. Her art is meant for the collector to handle, play with and blow into.

Roberts has had numerous exhibits at art galleries and museums across the nation and has been the subject of multiple publications and contributed artwork to several books.

Collectors of her work include: Jim Leach, Steven Speilberg, Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, Rudy Guilliani, Whoopi Goldberg, Dick Cheney, John Williams, Penny Marshall, Letitia Baldridge, “The FOnz”, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Carole Burnett, Carrie Fisher, Sonny & Gloria Kamm, Phillip Cooke, Erica Jong and more.

Roberts work is shown in the Stanley Gallery with Pieced Elegance: Quilts by Clara Oleson and will be on view through September 2, 2012.

Reminders from the German American Heritage Center & Musuem PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Kelly Lao   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 07:06
Two excellent talks on Saturday, June 16, 2012.
Try to hear them both.

Civility With A German Immigrant Accent - a talk by Jim Leach on the impact of German immigrants on the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Crossing Perry Street:  Working Women and Sporting Men in Der Freie Staat Scott - a talk by Dr. Jane Simonsen at  The GAHC.

Prohibition and Prostitution in Davenport during the Gilded Age PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Kelly Lao   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 08:15
Davenport, IA- On Saturday June 16th at 2pm, the German American Heritage Center will host Dr. Jane Simonsen of Augustana college for her talk, “Crossing Perry Street: Working Women & Sporting Men in ‘Der freie Staat Scott.’” This talk will cover when Davenport was one of the wickedest places in the Midwest around the time of Prohibition. After the talk, Jane will lead those who are interested on a walk through Bucktown, where the beer flowed and the action followed!

Admission is $5 for Adults, $4 for Seniors, $3 for children 5-17, and free for members.

This program is part of a series relating to our exhibit “Suds!” which features the breweries that operated here and the taverns and saloons where settlers gathered for their favorite brands. Local brewery ephemera and historic images take visitors through our local connections to the famous beverage!

The exhibit runs through October 28th and is sponsored by Vanguard Distributing Corporation. Visit our website for more information on this event and other upcoming events. Call 563-322-8844 or visit us at 712 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA.

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