Washington, DC (April 13, 2006)–The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, has announced his annual selection of 50 sound recordings for the National Recording Registry. Among those added this year are: Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues”, the first trans-Atlantic telephone conversation, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced, Frank Zappa’s We’re Only in it for the Money, Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, and Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation.
Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian is responsible for annually selecting recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Registry recordings must be at least 10 years old.
Nominations for the registry were gathered from members of the public, who submitted suggestions online (www.loc.gov/nrpb/), and from the National Recording Preservation Board, which comprises leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation and assisted the Librarian with the review of nominations.
The new additions honor a wide variety of spoken and musical recordings spanning the years 1903-1988. Among the selections is the first presidential inauguration to be broadcast, delivered by Calvin Coolidge; the first official transatlantic telephone conversation that took place on January 7, 1927; Clem McCarthy’s 1938 broadcast of the historic Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling fight (won by Louis in round 1); Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” called by some the “American anthem for sadness and grief;” and Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Additions also include performances by significant American artists including Nat “King” Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Celebrity attendees at the news conference included Robert Hendrix, cousin of Jimi Hendrix; Martha Reeves of the classic Motown group, Martha and the Vandellas; and members of the Firesign Theatre comedy troupe, who performed a five-minute routine. All are connected with recordings added to the registry.
At the press conference, the Library also announced the acquisition of 31 rare, mint-condition test pressings from blues legend Robert Johnson and the discovery of a jam session featuring jazz great Lester Young.
Librarian of Congress