Bridging the gap from “Begin the Beguine” to “Beat on the Brat,” this year’s inductees into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry represent an intriguing cross-section of 20th century music and sound.
Starting in 2002, the Librarian of Congress has been tasked with designating 25 sound recordings each year that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” and marking them for preservation. (To date, 375 recordings have received the imprimatur.) This year’s additions range in origin from 1918’s “After You’ve Gone,” recorded by Marion Harris, to Betty Carter’s The Audience with Betty Carter from 1980.
Among the new entries, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack are particularly notable, as is the recently-deceased Van Cliburn’s historic 1958 performance at Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition. Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come and Artie Shaw’s “Begin the Beguine” add to the Registry’s jazz collection, while the Ramones’ self-titled 1976 debut becomes the first punk rock recording to secure such Congressional approval.
Other notable entries include Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence, Chubby Checker’s “The Twist,” Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, and a message from Dwight Eisenhower relayed via satellite in 1958.