In my June 21st article, I explained why the Library of Congress (see above) has kept a selection of films “showcasing the range and diversity of American film history.” The LOC also has selected a collection of recordings for its National Recording registry that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States. No recording is eligible for inclusion in the collection until ten years have passed since its creation.” Selections are made every year beginning in 2002. 25 recordings (or, occasionally, more) are selected in each year. “Recordings may be a single item (ie, one important song) or a group of related items (eg, an album) or may contain music, non-music, spoken word, or broadcast sound.”
As with films, recordings that have been chosen are listed on a website. (www.loc.gov) Other information about the recordings can be found there, as well as how sound recordings can be nominated for the LOC’s selection.
Among the LOC’s selections from 2002, for example, are the following:
Single recordings: How High the Moon, by Les Paul and Mary Ford (see above); Respect, by Aretha Franklin; Stars and Stripes Forever, by a Military Band; Strange Fruit, by Billie Holiday; This Land Is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie; What’d I Say, by Ray Charles; White Christmas, by Bing Crosby; Rhapsody in Blue, by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (composed by George Gershwin).
Albums: Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan; Songs for Lovers, by Frank Sinatra; Dance Mania, by Tito Puente; Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis (see above), Bill Evans, John Coltrane, et al; Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey.
Other sound recordings: Casey At The Bat, by DeWolf Hopper; Fireside Chats, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1944); I Have a Dream Speech, by Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech; Ragtime Compositions on Piano Rolls by Scott Joplin (1900s); Sun Records Sessions of Elvis Presley; War of the Worlds, by the Mercury Theatre of the Air (Orson Welles, et al); Who’s On First, Radio Broadcast of Abbott and Costello (see above).