Synth Pioneers Honored

switched-on bachLibrarian of Congress James H. Billington has made his annual selection of 50
sound recordings for the National Recording Registry. This year, the
libary has selected some synth-heavy classics, including Walter/Wendy
Carlos’ Switched on Bach, and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000,
the Librarian is responsible for annually selecting recordings that are
?€œculturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.?€ Registry
recordings must be at least 10 years old.

In announcing the registry, the Librarian said, ?€œThe National Recording Registry represents a stunning array of the diversity,
humanity and creativity found in our sound heritage, nothing less than a flood of noise and sound pulsating into the American bloodstream.?€

Nominations for the registry were gathered from members of the public, who submitted suggestions online (, and from the National Recording Preservation Board, which comprises leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. The board also assisted the Librarian with the review of nominations.

The new additions to the registry honor a wide variety of outstanding spoken and musical recordings and span the years 1903-1988. Among the selections is the first presidential inauguration to be broadcast, featuring the ?€œNew England man-of-few-words?€ Calvin
Coolidge; the first official transatlantic telephone conversation that took place on Jan. 7, 1927; Clem McCarthy?€™s 1938 broadcast of the historic Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight won by Louis in round 1; Samuel Barber?€™s beautiful and haunting ?€œAdagio for Strings,?€ called by some the ?€œAmerican anthem for sadness and grief?€; and Gil
Scott-Heron?€™s ?€œThe Revolution Will Not Be Televised,?€ a song poem whose title has become a well-known part of the American cultural lexicon.

Additions also include a number of performances by an American pantheon of significant artists, including Bob Hope, Nat ?€œKing?€ Cole, Fred Allen, Mahalia Jackson, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Stevie Wonder.

Celebrity attendees at the news conference included Robert Hendrix, cousin to music legend Jimi Hendrix; Martha Reeves, renowned lead singer for the classic Motown group Martha and the Vandellas; and members of the comedy troupe the Firesign Theatre, who performed a five-minute comedy routine. All are connected with recordings added to the registry today.

At the press conference, the Library also announced acquisition of 31 rare, mint-condition test pressings from blues legend Robert Johnson and discovery of a jam session featuring jazz great Lester Young. Speaking on the Young discovery, Loren Schoenberg, executive director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem, said, ?€œYes, this was Lester?€™s absolute zenith and there is precious little extant from this period. Imagine a new Shakespearean sonnet, Chopin nocturne or Hemingway short story ?€“ that’s what we have here ?€“ an American master, a true iconoclast, at his very best.?€

On behalf of Congress and the National Recording Preservation Board, the Library of Congress is conducting a study on the state of audio preservation and will develop a comprehensive national recording preservation program, the first of its kind. The study encompasses the current state of sound-recording archiving, preservation, restoration activities and access to those recordings by scholars and the public. Rob Bamberger, director and writer for the National Recording Preservation Plan, was introduced as the person who will prepare the study and plan.

The Library is identifying and preserving the best existing versions
of the recordings on the registry. These efforts have received support
from record companies and archives. Sony BMG, in particular, is
assisting the national preservation program by locating the best
surviving elements of its recordings and duplicating them at no cost to
the Library, ensuring that the best existing versions are added to the
National Recording Registry Collection at the Library of Congress.

The Library is currently accepting nominations for the 2006 National Recording Registry at the National Recording Preservation Board Web site.

2005 National Recording Registry (in chronological order)

  • 1. Canzone del Porter?€ from ?€œMartha(von Flotow),?€ Edouard de Reszke (1903)
  • 2. Listen to the Lambs,?€ Hampton Quartette; transcribed by Natalie Curtis Burlin (1917)
  • 3. Over There,?€ Nora Bayes (1917)
  • 4. Crazy Blues,?€ Mamie Smith (1920)
  • 5. ?€œMy Man?€ and ?€œSecond Hand Rose,?€ Fanny Brice (1921)
  • 6. ?€œOry?€™s Creole Trombone,?€ Kid Ory (June 1922)
  • 7. Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge (March 4, 1925)
  • 8. ?€œTanec pid werbamy/Dance Under the Willows,?€ Pawlo Huemiuk (1926)
  • 9. ?€œSingin?€™ the Blues,?€ Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke (1927)
  • 10. First official transatlantic telephone conversation (Jan. 7, 1927)
  • 11. ?€œEl Manisero?€ (?€œThe Peanut Vendor?€), Rita Montaner,
    vocal with orchestra (1927); ?€œEl Manisero,?€ Don Azpiazu and his
    Havana Casino orchestra (1930)
  • 12. Light?€™s Golden Jubilee Celebration (Oct. 21, 1929)
  • 13. Beethoven?€™s Egmont Overture, Op. 84, Modesto High School Band (1930)
  • 14. ?€œShow Boat,?€ Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, James Melton and others; Victor Young, conductor; Louis Alter, piano (1932)
  • 15. ?€œWabash Cannonball,?€ Roy Acuff (1936)
  • 16. ?€œOne o?€™Clock Jump,?€ Count Basie and his Orchestra (1937)
  • 17. Archibald MacLeish?€™s ?€œFall of the City,?€ Orson Welles, narrator, Burgess Meredith, Paul Stewart (April 11, 1937)
  • 18. ?€œThe Adventures of Robin Hood?€ radio broadcast of May 11, 1938
  • 19. Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight, Clem McCarthy, announcer (June 22,1938)
  • 20. ?€œJohn the Revelator,?€ Golden Gate Quartet (1938)
  • 21. ?€œAdagio for Strings,?€ Arturo Toscanini, conductor; NBC Symphony (1938)
  • 22. ?€œCommand Performance?€ show No.21, Bob Hope, master of ceremonies (July 7, 1942)
  • 23. ?€œStraighten Up and Fly Right,?€ Nat ?€œKing?€ Cole (1943)
  • 24. ?€œThe Fred Allen Show?€(Radio broadcast of Oct. 7, 1945)
  • 25. ?€œJole Blon,?€ Harry Choates (1946)
  • 26. ?€œTubby the Tuba,?€ Paul Tripp (words) and George Kleinsinger (music) (1946)
  • 27. ?€œMove on up a Little Higher,?€ Mahalia Jackson (1948)
  • 28. ?€œAnthology of American Folk Music,?€ edited by Harry Smith (1952)
  • 29. ?€œSchooner Bradley,?€ performed by Pat Bonner (??1952-60)
  • 30. ?€œDamnation of Faust,?€ Boston Symphony Orchestra with the Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Society (1954)
  • 31. ?€œBlueberry Hill,?€ Fats Domino (1956)
  • 32. ?€œVariations for Orchestra,?€ Louisville Orchestra (1956)
  • 33. ?€œWhole Lotta Shakin?€™ Goin?€™ On,?€ Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
  • 34. ?€œThat?€™ll Be the Day,?€ The Crickets (1957)
  • 35. ?€œPoeme Electronique,?€ Edgard Varese (1958)
  • 36. ?€œTime Out,?€ The Dave Brubeck Quartet (1959)
  • 37. Studs Terkel interview with James Baldwin (Sept. 29, 1962)
  • 38. William Faulkner address at West Point Military Academy (1962)
  • 39. ?€œDancing in the Street,?€ Martha and the Vandellas (1964)
  • 40. ?€œLive at the Regal,?€ B.B. King (1965)
  • 41. ?€œAre You Experienced??€ Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
  • 42. ?€œWe?€™re Only in It for the Money,?€ Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1968)
  • 43. ?€œSwitched-On Bach,?€ Wendy Carlos (1968)
  • 44. ?€œOh Happy Day,?€ Edwin Hawkins Singers (1969)
  • 45. ?€œDon?€™t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,?€ Firesign Theatre (1970)
  • 46. ?€œThe Revolution Will Not Be Televised,?€ Gil Scott-Heron (1970)
  • 47. ?€œWill the Circle Be Unbroken,?€ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band(1972)
  • 48. The old foghorn, Kewaunee, Wis., recorded by James A. Lipsky (1972)
  • 49. ?€œSongs in the Key of Life,?€ Stevie Wonder (1976)
  • 50. ?€œDaydream Nation,?€ Sonic Youth (1988)

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