Library of Congress Adds Cultural, Historic Recordings to National Registry

Mar 28, 2013 2:29 PM

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Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Descargas (originally released in 1957)

The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, recently announced the selection of 25 sound recordings to the the National Recording Registry because of their cultural, artistic and historic importance to the nation’s aural legacy. The selections named to the registry feature an array of spoken-word and musical recordings—representing nearly every musical category—spanning the years 1918 to 1980.

From the cultural significance of Chubby Checker’s song-and-dance phenomenon and the historic moment of Van Cliburn’s triumphant Cold War performance in Moscow to the artistry of Cuban bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez’s all-star jam sessions, the 2012 inductees to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience.

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Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence (1966)

“Congress created the National Recording Registry to celebrate the richness and variety of our audio heritage and to underscore our responsibility for long-term preservation, to assure that legacy can be appreciated and studied for generations,” says Billington. “Our challenge, however, continues to be finding collaborative and innovative ways to protect and make available this unmatched legacy to the public.”

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2012 registry bring the total number of recordings to 375.

Among this year’s selections are Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 album, Sounds of Silence; The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd; the soundtrack to the movie Saturday Night Fever; the 1918 trendsetting “After You’ve Gone” by Marion Harris; Cheap Thrills, Janis Joplin’s second release with Big Brother and the Holding Company; the radio broadcast featuring Will Rogers’ 1931 folksy insights in support of Herbert Hoover’s unemployment-relief campaign during the Great Depression; and Artie Shaw’s breakthrough hit, “Begin the Beguine.”

Additions to the registry feature notable performances by Leontyne Price, Ornette Coleman, The Ramones, The Bee Gees, Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, Philip Glass, Betty Carter, Junior Wells, Jimmie Davis, Frank Yankovic, The Blackwood Brothers, and The Neville Brothers.






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