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N.W.A, David Bowie, Talking Heads, ‘All Things Considered’ Join National Recording Registry

A breadth of historic material, from 1888 wax cylinders to hard rock, new wave and rap of the late 20th century, has joined the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

The newly announced titles bring the list of the registry’s “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” recordings worthy of preservation to 475. Since 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the library’s National Recording Preservation Board, has selected 25 works each year.

“This year’s exciting list gives us a full range of sound experiences,” Librarian Carla Hayden said. “These sounds of the past enrich our understanding of the nation’s cultural history and our history in general.”

The oldest material among this year’s titles is derived from wax cylinders comprising demonstration recordings and musical performances made in London by Thomas Edison’s friend and agent Col. George Gouraud. The most recent release is “Signatures,” the 1997 album by classical soprano Renee Fleming.

The big screen and Broadway are represented this year by the 1975 original cast recording of “The Wiz”; Judy Garland’s waxing of “Over the Rainbow,” heard in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz: and “People,” Barbra Streisand’s early signature tune from her 1964 theatrical breakthrough “Funny Girl.”

Calling the honor “humbling and gratifying,” Streisand said of the National Recording Registry, “This is the prestigious treasure house in which American art is archived and acknowledged as part of the flow of our nation’s culture. I believe ‘People’ touched our common desire to relate to others with love and caring, and I’ve always tried to express this in my renditions of this magical song.”

The late David Bowie’s 1972 album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” was among the newly preserved titles.

Beyond music in an array of genres, the Library’s new Registry inductees includes comic Richard Pryor’s “Wanted: Live in Concert,” the first broadcast of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and Vin Scully’s call of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ last game at the Polo Grounds in New York.

The complete list of National Recording Registry additions:

  1. The 1888 London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)
  2. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (singles), Manhattan Harmony Four (1923); Melba Moore and Friends (1990)
  3. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (single), Harry Richman (1929)
  4. “Over the Rainbow” (single), Judy Garland (1939)
  5. “I’ll Fly Away” (single), The Chuck Wagon Gang (1948)
  6. “Hound Dog” (single), Big Mama Thornton (1953)
  7. “Saxophone Colossus,” Sonny Rollins (1956)
  8. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, announced by Vin Scully (September 8, 1957)
    9. “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs,” Marty Robbins (1959)
    10. “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery,” Wes Montgomery (1960)
    11. “People” (single), Barbra Streisand (1964)
    12. “In the Midnight Hour” (single), Wilson Pickett (1965)
    13. “Amazing Grace” (single), Judy Collins (1970)
    14. “American Pie” (single), Don McLean (1971)
    15. “All Things Considered,” first broadcast (May 3, 1971)
    16. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” David Bowie (1972)
    17. “The Wiz,” original cast album (1975)
    18. “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975),” Eagles (1976)
    19. “Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha,” Gunter Schuller, arr. (1976)
    20. “Wanted: Live in Concert,” Richard Pryor (1978
    21. “We Are Family” (single), Sister Sledge (1979)
    22. “Remain in Light,” Talking Heads (1980)
    23. “Straight Outta Compton,” N.W.A (1988)
    24. “Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil),” Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
    25. “Signatures,” Renée Fleming (1997)

(Pictured: N.W.A)

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