This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” is no longer just the rock album that has logged more weeks than any other on Billboard’s national album chart nor merely the one acid heads favored for syncing up as a twisted soundtrack for “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s also now going into the 2012 National Recording Registry, one of 25 recordings over the last century singled out for their “cultural, artistic and historical importance to the nation’s aural legacy,” the Library of Congress announced Thursday.
“Dark Side of the Moon” is joined in the registry by “Cheap Thrills,” Janis Joplin’s second release with Big Brother and the Holding Company from 1968, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” album from 1966, saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s 1959 debut album “The Shape of Jazz to Come,” Chubby Checker’s 1962 hit single and dance phenomenon “The Twist,” Van Cliburn’s 1958 recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and the blockbuster 1977 soundtrack album from “Saturday Night Fever.”
“I am excited to learn that the soundtrack to the 1977 hit movie "Saturday Night Fever," which includes many of the Bee Gees' most celebrated and enduring hit songs, has been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Recording Registry,” Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb said in a statement. “I share this honor in joyful memory of my brothers-- Maurice, Robin and Andy--and wish to convey the heartfelt gratitude of myself and each of our families.”
Added the film’s star, John Travolta, in the same statement, “Being part of the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ legacy is something that I am proud of. And seeing how it changed the face of society, movies and recordings and how it will never be forgotten. I thank you for acknowledging it at this extraordinary level.”
The National Recording Registry grew out of passage of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 under which the Library of Congress was charged with preserving culturally significant recordings. Each year the registry has added 25 more honorees, this year’s class bringing the total to 375. When recordings are elected to the registry, the best available copies are identified and rpeserved at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va.
In addition to the musical recordings, the registry also recognizes important spoken-word recordings and news broadcast. This year’s entries include Will Rogers’ Depression-era broadcast of 1931 “Bacon, Beans and Limousines,” a 1944 broadcast with journalist George Hicks’s radio reports during the D-Day invasion of Europe, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1958 message following the successful launch of the first communications satellite.
The full list of 21012 selections can be found at the Registry’s website. The library’s announcement noted that several of this years selected recordings had been nominated by membvers of the public, a recent addition to the selection process. Selections for the 2013 registry are now open and can also be made at the Registry’s website.
Update on March 22: An earlier version of this post put the number of recordings in the National Recording Registry at 325. The total with the new selections is now 375.
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2