Each year, the Library of Congress adds 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” titles to its National Recording Registry. This year’s inductees range from collections of music by Yiddish performers, recorded between 1901 and 1905, and of American Indians, recorded from 1929 to 1939, to a 1952 episode of the television series “Gunsmoke” and Robert F. Kennedy’s speech following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Headline hit songs added to the register this year are Cab Calloway’s ”Minnie the Moocher” (1931); “Soul Man” (1967), the rhythm and blues anthem by Sam and Dave; Richie Valens’ “La Bamba” (1958), one of the earliest mainstream Latino songs to make the pop charts; “Mississippi Goddam” (1964), Nina Simone’s bitter response to the killings of civil-rights activists in the Deep South; and “Sweet Caroline” (1969), an early signature tune by Neil Diamond.
Other inductees include the satirical “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: the Early Years” (1961), the original Broadway cast recording of “Hair” (1968), rapper Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint,” and “Schoolhouse Rock!: the Box Set” (1996), an anthology of tunes from the children’s television series.
Two classical sets made this year’s list of classics: The first recordings of the six solo-cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach, made by Pablo Casals in 1938-39, and the 1963 debut recording of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” led by the composer. (Casals recorded the suites in London and Paris; Britten’s recording was made in Britain.)
The Washington Post’s Travis M. Andrews reports on the Library of Congress’ latest batch of recorded classics:
A complete list of titles in the National Recording Registry can be found here: