WASHINGTON – From rare audio interviews of former slaves to recordings by Donna Summer and the Grateful Dead, 25 sounds that shaped the American cultural landscape are being inducted into the National Recording Registry.
Summers 1977 hit I Feel Love is joining the Grateful Deads famous 1977 Barton Hall concert as sounds of cultural significance, among 25 additions that are being announced Wednesday by the Library of Congress as part of its registry.
The worlds largest library has chosen a diverse array of songs and sounds from history to retain for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry. Among the new choices this year are Dolly Partons Coat of Many Colors, Princes Purple Rain and more.
Some selections are truly historic and rarely heard. They include the only known audio of former American slaves who were interviewed in the 1930s, including one participant who had worked for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Theres also a cylinder from a talking doll created by Thomas Edison in 1888 that is the earliest known commercial sound recording. It was considered unplayable until last year, after new digital mapping tools were used to reveal its sound of a woman singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
The library also is saving Leonard Bernsteins conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943 and A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio from 1970, which introduced millions of people to jazz through the TV soundtrack.
Americas sound heritage is an important part of the nations history and culture, and this years selections reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience, said Librarian of Congress James Billington, in announcing his final selections.
Though Summer died last week of cancer, her hit single was selected for the sound registry weeks ago, said Matt Barton, the librarys curator of recorded sound. Summer had many hits, but I Feel Love rose to the top because it was a breakthrough that would change club music for years to come, according to the librarys citation.
Funk will have its place in the sound history collection with Parliaments Mothership Connection from 1975 with George Clintons Aint nothin but a party, yall on the title track.
Blues singer Bo Diddley is being inducted to the sound registry, too, with Bo Diddley and Im a Man.
For Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Diddleys sound was some of the first beats he learned as a little boy, he told The Associated Press. So he was thrilled that sounds of the Dead were being preserved at the same time.
Hart had a hand in helping create the sound registry, pushing for a law in Congress in 2000. He said he didnt lobby for his own music to be included this year, though he was letting other lads in the band know about the honor.