Washington, DC (April 13, 2022)—Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the complete presidential speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt have been added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
Designated “some of the unforgettable sounds of the nation’s history and culture,” this year’s list, announced by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, names 25 audio treasures deemed worthy of preservation. “We received about 1,000 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry,” according to Hayden.
The latest selections are at least 10 years old, with some dating back to 1921, and cover an array of music genres as well as historic recordings such as WNYC’s broadcasts on 9/11 (station staff remained on-air throughout that day despite the NPR station losing a transmitter atop one of the Twin Towers) and the 2010 “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast interview with comedian and actor Robin Williams. FDR’s speeches, from 1933 to 1945, include events ranging from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the campaign against polio.
Among the music selections are Alicia Keys’ debut album, Songs in A Minor, Queen’s 1975 single “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Bonnie Raitt’s multi-Grammy-winning 1987 album Nick of Time and Ricky Martin’s breakout single, “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
Latin music is further represented by Linda Ronstadt’s 1987 mariachi album, Canciones de Mi Padre, and Buena Vista Social Club, which captured an all-star ensemble of 20 Cuban musicians assembled by guitarist Ry Cooder and producer Nick Gold in 1996.
The National Recording Registry’s class of 2022 also includes two hip-hop milestones, A Tribe Called Quest’s 1991 album The Low End Theory and Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Reaching further back, James P. Johnson’s 1921 recording of “Harlem Strut” represents one of the first examples of stride piano. Ernest Tubb’s “Walking the Floor Over You,” from 1941, is included as possibly the first honky-tonk hit in country music. Nat King Cole’s 1961 rendition—with orchestra—of “The Christmas Song,” written by Mel Tormé and songwriting collaborator Robert Wells in the middle of a California summer in 1945, and one of the most recorded holiday songs in history, is also on this year’s list.
Also of historical significance are 1950’s “Jesus Gave Me Water” by The Soul Stirrers, the first studio session by a 19-year-old Sam Cook (he added the “e” later); Terry Riley’s groundbreaking 1968 experimental album In C; Sherman brothers-penned earworm “It’s a Small World,” recorded by The Disneyland Boys Choir and first heard at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair; Andy Williams’ 1962 recording of “Moon River,” which debuted—sung by Audrey Hepburn—in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s; and WSB-Atlanta’s live radio coverage of Hank Aaron’s 715th career home run on April 8, 1974.