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National Recording Registry Adds Tunes By Isaac Hayes, Everly Brothers, U2

The Library of Congress has added another 25 works to its National Recording Registry. The tunes range from 1890s street singer George Washington Johnson’s “The Laughing Song” to the Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown” to U2‘s “The Joshua Tree.”

Also making the cut are the orginal cast recording of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd”; indelible blues and R&B numbers by Elmore James (“Dust My Broom”) and Louis Jordan (“Caledonia”); a 1966 live album by country legend Buck Owens; Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from ‘Shaft’”; and Jeff Buckley’s celebrated recording of Leonard Cohen’s redemptive anthem “Hallelujah.”

The registry, created in 2002, now includes 400 recordings deemed by the library to be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” That’s a fraction of the Library’s collection of 3.5 million sound recordings.

The latest inductees again represent a broad range of artists who left profound legacies on musical genres. Examples include bebop drummer/bandleader Art Blakey (“A Night at Birdland”), composer/conductor Aaron Copland (“Appalachian Spring”) and one landmark composition, the 1932 Jay Gorney/Yip Harburg number, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” popularized by Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee.

Non-musical treasures selected this year include President Lyndon Johnson’s vast collection of recorded telephone conversations and cabinet meetings; impressionist Vaughn Meader’s 1962 comedy album “The First Family” spoofing President John F. Kennedy – a product pulled from the market the following year; and baseball historian Lawrence Ritter’s interviews with the sport’s pioneers.

Other notable selections include Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Sun,” the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like a Wheel” album and Buck Owens and his Buckaroos’ 1966 Carnegie Hall concert.

The significance of each selectee is emphasized by the library. For example, it noted that George Washington Johnson was the first African-American to make commercial records, of which “The Laughing Song” was his most successful. For the Everly Brothers, a well-known influence on rock and roll, 1960 hit “Cathy’s Clown” was their first release for Warner Bros., recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio B. Singer Buckley’s recording of “Hallelujah” is touted as “the rare song that has graduated from well-known standard to cultural phenomenon.”

(Pictured: Isaac Hayes, Linda Ronstadt, Bing Crosby)

Here’s a complete list of this year’s selections:

“The Laughing Song” (single)— George Washington Johnson (c. 1896)

“They Didn’t Believe Me”— Harry Macdonough and Alice Green (1915)

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” (singles)— Bing Crosby; Rudy Vallee (both 1932)
“Franz Boas and George Herzog Recordings of Kwakwaka’wakw Chief Dan Cranmer (1938)

“Were You There” (single) — Roland Hayes (1940)

“The Goldbergs”: Sammy Goes Into the Army (July 9, 1942)

“Caldonia” (single) — Louis Jordan (1945)

“Dust My Broom” (single) — Elmore James (1951)

“A Night at Birdland” (Vols. 1 and 2) (albums) — Art Blakey (1954)

“When I Stop Dreaming” (single) — The Louvin Brothers (1955)

“Cathy’s Clown” (single) — The Everly Brothers (1960)

“Texas Sharecropper and Songster” (album) — Mance Lipscomb (1960)

“The First Family” (album) (1962)

Lawrence Ritter’s Interviews with Baseball Pioneers of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century (1962-1966)

Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson (Nov. 22, 1963 – Jan. 10, 1969)

“Carnegie Hall Concert with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos” (album) — Buck Owens and His Buckaroos (1966)

“Fortunate Son” (single) — Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

“Theme from ‘Shaft’” (album) — Isaac Hayes (1971)

“Only Visiting This Planet” (album) — Larry Norman (1972)

“Celia & Johnny” (album) — Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco (1974)

“Copland Conducts Copland: Appalachian Spring” — Aaron Copland (1974)

“Heart Like a Wheel” (album) — Linda Ronstadt (1974)

“Sweeney Todd” (album) — Original Cast Recording (1979)

“The Joshua Tree” (album) — U2 (1987)

“Hallelujah” (single) — Jeff Buckley (1994)


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