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A Registry of Historic Tunes

What do Alicia Keys, Ricky Martin, Journey, Linda Ronstadt, A Tribe Called Quest, Bonnie Raitt, Wu-Tang Clan, Queen, and Buena Vista Social Club all have in common, besides comprising an awesome hypothetical mixtape perfect for summertime listening? Each of these artists has work that was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress on April 13.

The Library of Congress adds to the registry audio treasures worthy of preservation based on their cultural, historical, or aesthetic importance to the nation’s recorded sound heritage. The 25 works in the 2022 class span multiple music genres, from hip-hop, jazz, and country to rock, R&B, and Latin, and also include radio broadcasts and interviews of note.

“The National Recording Registry reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation’s history and culture through recorded sound,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in an April 13 statement. “The national library is proud to help preserve these recordings, and we welcome the public’s input. We received about 1,000 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”

In addition to the musical selections, speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, WNYC’s radio broadcasts on 9/11, and an episode of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron featuring an interview with comedian Robin Williams were inducted into the registry.

The newly added recordings bring the total number of titles on the registry to 600, representing a small portion of the national library’s vast recorded sound collection of nearly 4 million items.

Here’s the full list of 2022 inductees, in chronological order:

  • “Harlem Strut” by James P. Johnson (single, 1921)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt: Complete Presidential Speeches, 1933-1945
  • “Walking the Floor Over You” by Ernest Tubb (single, 1941)
  • “On a Note of Triumph,” May 8, 1945 (radio broadcast)
  • “Jesus Gave Me Water” by The Soul Stirrers (single, 1950)
  • Ellington at Newport by Duke Ellington (album, 1956)
  • We Insist!  Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite by Max Roach (album, 1960)
  • “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole (single, 1961)
  • Tonight’s the Night by The Shirelles (album, 1961)
  •  “Moon River” by Andy Williams (single, 1962)
  •  In C by Terry Riley (album, 1968)
  •  “It’s a Small World” by The Disneyland Boys Choir, (single, 1964)
  •  “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops (single, 1966)
  •  Hank Aaron’s 715th Career Home Run (radio broadcast, April 8, 1974)
  •  “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (single, 1975)
  •  “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey (single, 1981)
  •  Canciones de Mi Padre by Linda Ronstadt (album, 1987)
  •  Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt (album, 1989)
  •  The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest (album, 1991)
  •  Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan (album, 1993)
  •  Buena Vista Social Club by Buena Vista Social Club (album, 1997)
  •  “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin (single, 1999)
  •  Songs in A Minor by Alicia Keys (album, 2001)

 WNYC broadcasts for the day of 9/11 (radio broadcast, September 11, 2001)

 WTF with Marc Maron with guest Robin Williams (podcast, April 26, 2010)

You can listen to many of the recordings on your favorite streaming service. Also, the Digital Media Association, a member of the National Recording Preservation Board, has compiled a list of some streaming services with National Recording Registry playlists. Enjoy!

To learn more about preservation efforts—including how to get started on your own projects—check out some of the resources available from the American Library Association’s CORE: Leadership, Infrastructure, Future.

Photo: From the album The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

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