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Library of Congress Adds 50 Sound Recordings for Preservation

Posted in News on April 13, 2005
On April 5, the Library of Congress announced the third annual selection of 50 sound recordings to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. Among this year's class, which includes not only recorded music but also radio and recorded live sound, are albums by Nirvana and Public Enemy, along with seminal releases by the Beach Boys, the Allman Brothers Band, John Coltrane and John Williams' soundtrack for Star Wars.

BMI's David Sanjek (left) congratulates rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy for having his influential album Fear of a Black Planet included on this year's Registry list BMI's David Sanjek (left) joins fellow Registry board member Michael Feinstein at the reception after his performance of George and Ira Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm" (1926) on the piano owned by George Gershwin

In addition to Public Enemy's influential Fear of a Black Planet (1989) and Nirvana's landmark album Nevermind (1991), other selections include the NBC radio broadcast of Charles Lindbergh's arrival and reception in Washington, D.C. (1927), Fats Waller singing and playing his own "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1929), the opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" written by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson (1947), Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" (1949), "The Girl From Ipanema" with Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto (1963), and James Brown's "Live at the Apollo" (1965).

The National Recording Preservation Board, consisting of 20 experts from the music industry and preservation field including BMI's David Sanjek, culled its list from nominations made by the public for recordings considered "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Recordings must be 10 years old to be considered for preservation and final selections are made by the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington.

During the press conference announcing the recordings, an audio preservationist at the Library of Congress revealed that he has uncovered a major recording in jazz history: an album's worth of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane playing together at a Carnegie Hall concert in 1957. The two are considered one of the great pairings in modern jazz, but their work together was captured on only a few studio cuts. The long-lost concert was recorded by the Voice of America for its legendary Cold War-era overseas jazz programs hosted by Willis Conover.

The National Recordings Registry was created by the National Recordings Preservation Act of 2000 in order to promote and support audio preservation.