Tupac, Patti Smith headed to Recording library

Recordings ranging from a 1913 klezmer band performance to a 1995 rap by Tupac Shakur have been selected by James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, for preservation in the National Recording Registry.

The 25 selections for the eighth annual registry, picked with advice from the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, are deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The additions bring the total number of preserved recordings to 300.

“This latest list of selections showcases the diverse beauty, humanity and artistry found in the American soundscape,” Billington said. The Registry is designed to “preserve and sustain these significant examples of our creative spirit so that they can inform and enrich the lives of modern and future generations.”

Selections run the gamut of musical genres: jazz (King Oliver, Bill Evans), rock (Little Richard, the Band, Patti Smith, R.E.M.), blues (Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin’ Wolf), opera (Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior performing Wagner), Cajun (Iry LeJeune), comedy (Bill Cosby), soul (the Staple Singers), country (Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson), electronic (Morton Subotnick), show tunes (the “Gypsy” cast recording) and soundtracks (Cliff Edwards’ “When You Wish Upon a Star,” from Disney’s “Pinocchio”). There’s also the historical artifact of a Marine Corps field recording of WWII battles in Guam in July-August 1944.

2009 National Recording Registry:

• “Fon der Choope” (From the Wedding), Abe Elenkrig’s Yidishe Orchestra (1913)

• “Canal Street Blues,” King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (1923)

• “Tristan und Isolde,” Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, NBC Broadcast of March 9, 1935

• “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Cliff Edwards (recorded, 1938; released, 1940)

• “America’s Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to England?” (May 8, 1941)

• The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second Battle of Guam (July 20 – August 11, 1944)

• “Evangeline Special” and “Love Bridge Waltz,” Iry LeJeune (1948)

• “The Little Engine That Could,” narrated by Paul Wing (1949)

• Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State (1950-1954)

• “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard (1955)

• “Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf (1956)

• “Gypsy,” original cast recording (1959)

• The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)

• “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two),” Max Mathews (1961)

• “I Started Out As a Child,” Bill Cosby (1964)

• “Azucar Pa Ti,” Eddie Palmieri (1965)

• “Today!,” Mississippi John Hurt (1966))

• “Silver Apples of the Moon,” Morton Subotnick (1967)

• “Soul Folk in Action,” The Staple Singers (1968)

• “The Band,” The Band (1969)

• “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn (1970)

• “Red Headed Stranger,” Willie Nelson (1975)

• “Horses,” Patti Smith (1975)

• “Radio Free Europe” R.E.M. (1981)

• “Dear Mama,” Tupac Shakur (1995)

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