Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Library of Congress receives over 200 hours of rock royalty interviews

Les Paul

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Les Paul created custom guitars for rock and roll heavyweights such as Eddie Van Halen.

Is that a gesture of cultural preservation, man? Well, turn it up, man.

The Library of Congress received a musical infusion Monday thanks to former Capitol Records/EMI president and retired music executive, Joe Smith, who donated more than 200 audio interviews of some of the world's greatest musicians.

During his two years in the top seat, Smith, now 84-years-old, recorded interviews with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie, Artie Shaw, Ray Charles, Ahmet Ertegun, Les Paul, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Elton John, Tina Turner, and hundreds more to amass his 238-hour archive.

In 1988 he compiled a number of interviews into a book, "Off the Record." Today, the unabridged rock and roll recollections are digitized in world's largest library, and available to researchers at the Capitol Hill reading room. A select number of interviews should be available later this year on the library's website.


Press your space face into this David Bowie anniversary celebration

ziggy stardust

June 6, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie's 1972 album "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars."

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture will screen Tuesday evening at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles in celebration of EMI's new release of the remastered 40th Anniversary Edition of David Bowie’s momentous 1972 album.

The event will be followed by a Q&A with the album’s co-producer, Ken Scott. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the box office or online.

Museum representative Andie Cox told KPCC the best way for the public to stay informed about open events is through their newsletter, noting, however, that "when the room in question is only 200 seats, tickets go fast" and the first notification will go to GRAMMY Museum members.

The D.A. Pennebaker’s film -- which will also be airing this week on VH1 Classic and Palladia -- documents Bowie's final show as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on July 3, 1973.