The controversial release of the first recording of contemporary stand-up comedy, the country music hit that divided American women, and an innovative television theme song are among the sound recordings that have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. Today, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 new additions to the ninth annual National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, ensuring that these cultural, artistic and historical recordings always will be available to the American 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 selecting every year 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2010 registry bring the total number of recordings to 325.
The selections named to the registry feature a diverse array of spoken-word and musical recordings—representing nearly every musical category—spanning the years 1853-1994. They cover a wide range of sounds and music, ranging from the political voices of GOPAC and the haunting sounds of humpback whales to the soulful lamenting of Al Green and the innovative jazz of Henry Mancini.
Among the selections are Edward Meeker’s “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”; Tammy Wynette’s 1968 crossover hit, “Stand By Your Man”; the 1955 unauthorized recording of Mort Sahl’s concert “At Sunset,” which is considered the first recording of modern stand-up comedy; Voice of America radio broadcasts by legendary jazz producer Willis Conover; the parlance of the last Yahi Indian in 1915; the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944; the Boswell Sisters’ “It’s the Girl”; and the first recorded sounds ever captured, which harks back to 1853.
Other additions to the registry also feature notable performances by Nat “King” Cole, Les Paul, Lydia Mendoza, Blind Willie Johnson, The Sons of the Pioneers, George Crumb, John Fahey, Steely Dan and De La Soul.
As part of its congressional mandate, the Library is identifying and preserving the best existing versions of each recording on the registry. These recordings 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.
The remainder of the LC announcement has a list of the titles with annotations about each one.
Here are Five of the Latest Entries (From a Total of 25)
1. “The Music From ‘Peter Gunn,’” Henry Mancini (1959)
1. “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green (1971)
2. “Aja,” Steely Dan (1977)
3. “3 Feet High and Rising,” De La Soul (1989)
4. “GOPAC Strategy and Instructional Tapes (1986-1994)”