National Recordings Registry Tabs First 50 Selections

Posted in News on January 30, 2003
The first 50 selections were inducted into the National Recordings Registry were announced January 27. Modeled after the National Film Registry, which recognizes the greatest American motion pictures, this annual Registry was set up by lawmakers in 2000 in order to "maintain and preserve sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The selections include not only great music, like Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," but also major instances of the spoken word, like FDR's Fireside Chats or Abbott and Costello's "Who’s On First."

Pictured (l-r) are Elizabeth Cohen of the American Engineering Society,
BMI's Dr. David Sanjek, Librarian of Congress James M. Billington, Jr. and
the American Musicological Society's Jose Bowen.

The final selections were made by the Librarian of Congress, James H.Billington Jr., after consulation with a group of advisors that includes academics, members of the music industry and others. BMI President and CEO, Frances W. Preston was part of that advisory group, and was represented in the deliberations by Dr. David Sanjek, the Director of the BMI Archives. In the complete list below, contributions to the collection by BMI writers/artists and publishers are indicated by an asterisk.

1. Edison Exhibition Recordings (Group of three cylinders): "Around the World on the Phonograph"; "The Pattison Waltz"; "Fifth Regiment March" (1888-1889)

2. The Jesse Walter Fewkes field recordings of the Passamaquoddy Indians (1890)

3. "Stars and Stripes Forever," military band, Berliner Gramophone disc recording (1897)

4. Lionel Mapleson cylinder recordings of the Metropolitan Opera (1900-1903)

5. Scott Joplin ragtime compositions on piano rolls, Scott Joplin, piano (1900s)

6. Booker T. Washington's 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech (1906 recreation)

7. "Vesti la giubba" from Pagliacci, Enrico Caruso (1907)

8. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," Fisk Jubilee Singers (1909)

9. Lovey's Trinidad String Band recordings for Columbia Records (1912)

10. "Casey at the Bat," DeWolf Hopper, reciting (1915)

11. "Tiger Rag," Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1918)

12. "Arkansas Traveler and Sallie Gooden," Eck Robertson, fiddle (1922)

13. "Down-Hearted Blues," Bessie Smith (1923)

14. "Rhapsody in Blue," George Gershwin, piano; Paul Whiteman Orchestra (1924)

15. Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925-1928)

16. Victor Talking Machine Company sessions in Bristol, Tennessee, Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman, and others (1927)*

17. Harvard Vocarium record series, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, others, reciting (1930-1940s)

18. Highlander Center Field Recording Collection, Rosa Parks, Esau Jenkins, others (1930s-1980s)*

19. Bell Laboratories experimental stereo recordings, Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, conductor (1931-1932)

20. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio "Fireside Chats" (1933-1944)

21. New Music Recordings series, Henry Cowell, producer (1934-1949)*

22. Description of the crash of the Hindenburg, Herbert Morrison, reporting (1937)

23. "Who's on First," Abbott and Costello's first radio broadcast version (1938)

24. "War of the Worlds," Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater (1938)

25. "God Bless America," Kate Smith, Radio broadcast premiere (1938)

26. "The Cradle Will Rock." Marc Blitzstein and the original Broadway cast (1938)

27. The John and Ruby Lomax Southern States Recording Trip (1939)*

28. Grand Ole Opry, first network radio broadcast, Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff, and others (1939)*

29. "Strange Fruit," Billie Holiday (1939)*

30. Duke Ellington Orchestra "Blanton-Webster" period recordings (1939-1942)

31. Bela Bartok, piano, and Joseph Szigeti, violin, in concert at the Library of Congress (1940)

32. "Rite of Spring," Igor Stravinsky conducting the New York Philharmonic (1940)

33. "White Christmas," Bing Crosby (1942)

34. "This Land Is Your Land," Woody Guthrie (1944)*

35. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's D-Day radio address to the Allied Nations (1944)

36. "Koko," Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and others (1945)*

37. "Blue Moon of Kentucky," Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (1947)*

38. "How High the Moon," Les Paul and Mary Ford (1951)

39. Elvis Presley's Sun Records sessions (1954-1955)*

40. "Songs for Young Lovers," Frank Sinatra (1955)

41. "Dance Mania," Tito Puente (1958)

42. "Kind of Blue," Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, and others (1959)*

43. "What'd I Say," parts 1 and 2, Ray Charles (1959)*

44. "I Have a Dream," speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)

45. "Freewheelin'," Bob Dylan (1963)

46. "Respect!," Aretha Franklin (1967)*

47. "Philomel," for soprano, recorded soprano, and synthesized sound, Bethany Beardslee, soprano (1971)*

48. "Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey," Thomas Dorsey, Marion Williams, and others (1973)*

49. Crescent City Living Legends Collection (WWOZ radio, New Orleans) (1973-1990)*

50. "The Message," Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (1982)*


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