U.S. Librarian of Congress James A. Billington yesterday announced the first group of recordings to be entered into the National Recording Registry, which was initiated by Congress in 2000, Billboard Bulletin reports. The 50 selections were chosen from hundreds of entries forwarded by an advisory board comprising leaders in music, recorded sound, and preservation. Fifty more titles will be added each year.
Among the recordings are the Berliner Grammaphone Co.'s first recording of John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" (1897); Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925-28); the Victor Co.'s Bristol, Tenn., sessions of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers (1927); Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" (1939); and Stravinsky conducting the New York Philharmonic in the first recording of his "The Rite of Spring" (1940).
More contemporary choices include Elvis Presley's Sun sessions (1954-55); Frank Sinatra's "Songs for Young Lovers" LP (1955); Tito Puente's "Dance Mania" LP (1958); the Miles Davis Sextet's "Kind of Blue" (1959); "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" (1963); and Aretha Franklin's single "Respect" (1967). The most recent selection is the 1982 breakthrough rap hit by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, "The Message."
The Library of Congress will store "best copies" of the recordings in its state-of-the-art conservation vaults; U.S. record companies still hold the original masters. Congress has funded the project for the next seven years.