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Jay-Z’s ‘Blueprint’ Named to National Registry, Along With ‘Schoolhouse Rock,’ ‘Superfly,’ Nina Simone and More

“Minnie the Moocher,” meet “The Blueprint.” The recordings being inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for 2019 range from Cab Calloway’s 1931 signature single to a landmark 2001 Jay-Z album, with stops along the way for Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual.”

Every year, the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board selects 25 titles to be added to the prestigious slate for their cultural and aesthetic significance. This eclectic lineup starts chronologically with what is believed to be the earliest recordings of Yiddish songs in 1901-05, includes a “Gunsmoke” radio serial episode from the ’50s and a Martin Luther King Jr. speech from the ’60s, and moves from the “Hair” Broadway cast album into the disco era with Sylvester’s  “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).”

Among the great historical documents joining the list is Nina Simone’s 1964 civil rights anthem “Mississippi Goddam,” a reaction to the murders of African Americans and rights activists in the South. Other picks include Richie Valens’ “La Bamba,” Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” classical composer Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” a 1961 Stan Freberg album of political comedy, Dexter Gordon’s jazz classic “GO,” the Victory Military Band’s 1914 rendition of “Memphis Blues” and roots singer Ola Belle Reed’s self-titled 1973 album.

Lauper was thrilled by the honor, she said in a statement. “I’m really honored that ‘She’s So Unusual’ is being recognized as being one of the nation’s audio treasures worthy of lifetime preservation,” she said. “I was really determined to make a cohesive collection of songs and really determined to make sure all types of women were represented in the ‘Girls…’ video. I had this very strong vision of how I wanted to put the music together. If this is going to be my thing, and if this is the only time I ever get to open my mouth and sing, I want it to be great.”

Producer and Blue Note Records president Don Was extolled the glories of Curtis Mayfield. .“I would compare (his) work on ‘Superfly’ to the work of the great post-Impressionist painters,” said Was.“Mayfield took textures that were then popular in rhythm and blues — like wah-wah guitars, congas, flutes, orchestras — and blended them into something altogether new. … I think it’s wonderful that 50 years after its inception, the music of ‘Superfly’ still resonates with listeners and is being honored by the National Recording Registry.”

“The National Recording Registry honors the music that enriches our souls, the voices that tell our stories and the sounds that mirror our lives” said Carla Hayden of the Librarian of Congress. “The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially. The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future.”

The number of recordings in the National Recording Registry has now reached 525 with the new additions. Jay-Z’s “Blueprint” joins a short list of hip-hop inductees that already includes Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” and Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.”

 

The full list of 2019 inductees into the Registry:

1. Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)

2. “Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)

3. Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)

4. “Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)

5. “Bach Six Cello Suites” (album), Pablo Casals (c. 1939)

6. “They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)

7. “Gunsmoke” — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)

8. Ruth Draper: Complete recorded monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)

9. “La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)

10. “Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)

11. “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years” (album), Stan Freberg (1961)

12. “GO” (album), Dexter Gordon (1962)

13. “War Requiem” (album), Benjamin Britten (1963)

14. “Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)

15. “Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)

16. “Hair” (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)

17. Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)

18. “Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)

19. “Superfly” (album), Curtis Mayfield (1972)

20. “Ola Belle Reed” (album), Ola Belle Reed (1973)

21. “September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)

22. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)

23. “She’s So Unusual” (album), Cyndi Lauper (1983)

24. “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” (1996)

25. “The Blueprint” (album), Jay-Z (2001)

 

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