Library of Congress adds 25 new recordings to its collection, including classics from Captain Beefheart, Steely Dan and George Crumb

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Whether it’s hip-hop or humpback whales, the Library of Congress certainly knows how to spread the love around when it comes to America’s aural preservation. On Wednesday, the government agency named 25 new additions to the ninth annual National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, ensuring that these cultural, artistic and historic recordings will remain available for all time. Among the chosen were recordings by De La Soul, Al Green and the recently deceased Captain Beefheart.

“Audio recordings have documented our lives and allowed us to share artistic expressions and entertainment,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement. “The salient question is not whether we should preserve these artifacts , but how best collectively to save this indispensable part of our history.”

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, Billington, with advice from the library’s National Recording Preservation Board, must annually select 25 recordings that are ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old.

The library has added recordings to the registry since 2002. This year’s batch was whittled down from 900 submissions and brings the total to 325 (fifty recordings were added each year for four years, with 25 added each year since. The recordings now being added are from nominations made in 2010.)


Spanning from 1853-1994, this year’s list seems to include something for everyone-- baseball fans (Edward Meeker’s 1908 anthem “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,”), oceanographers (the 1970 recording of “Songs of a Humpback Whale”), faithful lovers (Tammy Wynette’s 1968 crossover hit, “Stand by Your Man”) and classic rock fans (Steely Dan’s 1977 album, ‘Aja’)

Other additions to the registry include recordings from Nat King Cole, Les Paul, Lydia Mendoza, Blind Willie Johnson, the Sons of Pioneers, George Crumb, comedian Mort Sahl and the Almanac Singers.

Nominations were gathered from online submissions from the public and from the National Recording Preservation Board, comprised of leaders in fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. Wondering why your favorite artists got the shaft this year? Submissions for next year’s registry are open to the public on the National Recording Preservation Board’s website now, so get clicking.

--Nate Jackson

Video: De La Soul’s 1989 album ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ was among the recordings added to National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. Credit: YouTube