Library of Congress preserving some oldies, goodies
WASHINGTON — The Library of Congress will preserve the recordings of 25 additional artists and personalities in the National Recording Registry, including hip-hop group NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” album, Judy Garland’s single, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album and Barbra Streisand’s 1964 single, “People.”
“The Registry additions each year are always an eclectic mix, which is appropriate given that it should mirror our richly diverse and ever-changing recorded sound heritage,” Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden told CNN Wednesday, following the release of the 2016 list. “These works stand the test of time and reflect the many accomplishments, struggles and values comprising the American puzzle.”
The Library of Congress began the registry in 2002, and since then, 475 titles — single songs or entire albums — were named to the list. While most of the list is made up of music recordings, it also includes notable recordings of popular moments in history.
Here’s a look at the 25 titles:
1. “Straight Outta Compton”
While hip-hop artists have been recognized by the library in the past, the induction of NWA is particularly notable considering the monumental pushback levied against the group in the late 1980s by activists and politicians who were outraged when the now-legendary rappers broke into the American mainstream.
NWA, which was made up of Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and MC Ren, released its debut album, “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988, sparking outrage from many, most notably the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), whose campaign against the group and rock stars sparked a nationwide debate about the use of profanity.
The album “Straight Outta Compton” is a bold critique of American society that chronicles the struggles of inner-city life and includes songs like “Straight Outta Compton,” “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Fthe Police,” which shone an early spotlight on police brutality.
Other hip-hop titles recognized by the registry in the past include Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message,” Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet,” Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama,” De La Soul’s “3 Feet High & Rising, Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Lauryn Hill for her 1997 album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”
2. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”
The 1972 concept album from British pop icon David Bowie tells the story of fictitious pop star Ziggy Stardust, Bowie’s alter ego. At the time of its release, Rolling Stone called the album his “most thematically ambitious, musically coherent album.”
3. “Over the Rainbow”
Judy Garland’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow” in the 1939 film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” stood as the one splash of color in a Kansas setting devoid of Technicolor.
Barbra Streisand won Album of the Year in 1964 for “The Barbra Streisand Album.” She is one of 17 people to have received an Emmy, an Oscar, a Tony and a Grammy — also known as the EGOT. She joins fellow EGOT winner Mel Brooks in the Recording Registry.
5. “Their Greatest Hits (1971--1975)”
Fun fact: It’s just Eagles. Not The Eagles. Not to be confused with the Philadelphia Eagles or the U.S. national emblem. The 1976 album featured the band’s chart toppers.
6. “Hound Dog”
Move over, Elvis. The King may have made the most famous version of “Hound Dog,” but Big Mama Thornton made it cry first.
7. “We Are Family”
They really are family. They mean it literally. Sister Sledge is composed of sisters Debbie, Joni and Kim Sledge. At the time of the 1979 hit single, sister Kathy Sledge was part of the group, too.
8. “Remain in Light”
Rolling Stone named the 1980 album by the Talking Heads the fourth best album of the 1980s, even though the album art was incredibly unpopular.
9. “Puttin’ on the Ritz”
The Ritz. It’s a hotel. It’s a cracker. It’s an iconic song made famous by Harry Richman in 1929 and made hilarious by Gene Wilder.
10. London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud
These 1888 cylinder recordings were made the same year Thomas Edison his first wax cylinder recording. Clearly they have longevity on their own, but being recognized for permanent posterity is one more feather in the Colonel’s cap.
11. “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Manhattan Harmony Four’s 1923 recording and Melba Moore and Friends’ 1990 recording will be preserved.
Melba Moore made Broadway history when she became the first African-American woman to perform the role of Fantine in Les Misérables.
12. “I’ll Fly Away”
Anyone who has seen the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” might recognize this tune; the 1948 recording by The Chuck Wagon Gang was featured on the soundtrack.
13. “Wanted: Live in Concert”
Richard Pryor is remembered most for his stand-up comedy, including this 1978 release. He also had more than 40 acting credits to his name.
14. “American Pie”
Notice that Madonna’s 2000 cover of the single — done in 1971 by Don McLean — still has not rooted itself as a piece of Americana.
15. “Amazing Grace”
The Judy Collins’ 1970 rendition is possibly the second most famous version of the song — only more famously sung in recent memory by President Barack Obama.
16. The Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the New York Giants
Recording of the game by announcer Vin Scully was made on Sept. 8, 1957
Scully, who retired from sportscasting in 2016, was so good at his job, legend has it that some fans watching the Los Angeles Dodgers in person would bring radios with them just to hear his take.
17. “All Things Considered”
The first broadcast on the NPR program was done on May 3, 1971, and will be enshrined at the Library of Congress.
18. “Saxophone Colossus”
Legendary jazz musician Sonny Rollins, whose full name is Theodore Walter Rollins, was born on Sept. 7, 1930, in New York City. He recorded “Saxophone Colossus” on June 22, 1956.
19. “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs”
Country singer Marty Robbins was born in Glendale, Ariz., in 1925 and rose to become one of the most iconic country and western singers before his death in 1982. “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” was released in 1959.
20. “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery”
John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery is one of the most prominent jazz guitarists of his time. The album was made in 1960.
21. “In the Midnight Hour”
R&B artist Wilson Pickett made his mark on the genre over more than 50 years in the music industry until his death in 2006. The recording was made in 1965.
22. “The Wiz”
The original cast album was made in 1975 about one year after “The Wiz” opened on Broadway in October 1974. It retold L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” from the point of view of modern African-American culture.
23. “Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha”
Gunter Schuller did a 1976 arrangement of the folk opera written by Joplin, an African-American composer and pianist.
24. “Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil)”
Robert Shaw Festival Singers did a 1990 version of Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff classic.
Renée Fleming’s 1997 rendition came before the soprano opera singer won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo.
Last year’s list included John Coltrane’s 1964 album, “A Love Supreme,” Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 single, “I Will Survive,” Merle Haggard’s 1968 single, “Mama Tried,” and Metallica’s 1986 album, “Master of Puppets.” — (CNN)