The Library of Congress had some big news this week with their announcement of the newest National Recording Registry additions. The Library of Congress makes it their mission to honor recordings of music that enriches our souls and voices that tell our stories and mirror our lives. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, and others select 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
These titles show the range and diversity of American recorded sound heritage in order to increase preservation awareness. Though the Library’s sound-collection is nearing 3 million total items, this special registry includes just 525 titles that have the guaranteed promise of longevity and preservation.
This year’s inductees come from musical genres like the blues, children’s recordings, classical and Broadway. The spoken-word recordings span a century from 1901 to 2001. The most contemporary addition was Jay-Z’s 2001 album, “The Blueprint,” solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest rappers in music. The oldest recorded sounds on the 2018 registry are 20 cylinders of the earliest-known recordings of Yiddish songs (1901-1905).
I am particularly partial to the addition of Cyndi Lauper’s celebrated 1983 debut solo album “She’s So Unusual,” which made the list. Gen Xers will probably smile when they learn that the “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” program was also added.
Chicano culture was recognized in the selection of Ritchie Valens’ timeless, groundbreaking song, “La Bamba.” Los Lobos released its version of the song in 1987. Also on the list is Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 soundtrack for “Superfly,” the film by the same name that was a huge commercial success.
One of the most chilling pieces of spoken word that will be preserved in this class is Robert F. Kennedy’s April 4 speech on the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered in 1968. Sen. Kennedy flew to Indianapolis to speak at a rally in a mostly African-American neighborhood of the city in support of his campaign for the presidency. When he landed, he was told of the news of Dr. King’s death, and he delivered his address to the assembled crowd. Kennedy himself would be shot and killed just two months later. His remarks still resonate today and recall a frightening time of political violence as well as a dream for a better future.
To read more about the National Recording Registry, visit www.loc.gov or ask your local librarian. For more recent releases in the audiobook world, see some of the latest titles in our collection.
• “Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life” by Dave Asprey. The “Bulletproof Radio” podcaster outlines proven techniques for promoting personal happiness, health, and success in accordance with the examples of today’s game changers, from David Perlmutter to Arianna Huffington.
• “The Dakota Winters” by Tom Barbash. Returning to his childhood home in 1979 New York’s famed Dakota apartments, former Peace Corps volunteer Anton Winter is swept up in a raucous celebrity effort to reignite his late-night host father’s stalled career. Narrator Jim Meskimen impersonates multiple celebrities (including John Lennon) in his entertaining reading.
• “The Mansion” by Ezekiel Boone. The rich and successful head of a multi-billion-dollar tech company reconnects with an embittered ex-partner for help when a failed computer program they created together – one designed to control a house’s every function – begins causing sinister accidents. George Newbern’s sardonic narration emphasizes the tension between the business partners.
• “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington” by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch. In this “AudioFile” Earphones Award-winning recording, narrator Scott Brick makes history come to thrilling life as he tells the story of the Hickey Plot, a 1776 scheme orchestrated by prominent New York politicians to kidnap and murder George Washington.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!