- Associated Press - Monday, June 18, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - Retired music executive Joe Smith is giving the Library of Congress more than 200 audio interviews with popular singers including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Paul McCartney.

The gift being announced Monday includes interviews Smith recorded over two years while president of Capitol Records/EMI. He compiled the candid oral histories for his book, “Off the Record,” published in 1988.

Now, they have been digitized by the world’s largest library and will be available to researchers in Washington. Some recordings will be streamed on the library’s website later this year.

Librarian of Congress James Billington says Smith is providing an intimate look into the lives of some of the great musicians.

The 84-year-old Smith says he wanted to preserve part of the nation’s cultural history.

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