CNN reports that the Library of Congress just added 25 recordings to its National Recording Registry, including Jay-Z ‘s “The Blueprint,” Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual,” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” The Librarian of Congress adds 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” recordings to the registry each year. In a statement addressing the new additions — which brings the total number of titles in the library to 525 — Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden called them “audio treasures.”
“The National Recording Registry honors the music that enriches our souls, the voices that tell our stories and the sounds that mirror our lives. The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially. The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future.”
Hayden added rapper Jay-Z’s sixth album, “The Blueprint,” because of its extensive range, from battles raps aimed at his opponents like Nas and Prodigy, to positive songs bursting with energy and heartfelt songs that delve into his personal life.
Cyndi Lauper said she was honored by the selection of her 1983 solo debut “She’s So Unusual.” She said that the creation of the album was driven by her determination to create “a cohesive collection of songs” guided by her vision, as well as her desire to create a video for “Girl…” that represented many different kinds of women.
Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which is from his album “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show,” is regarded as a sophisticated piece of pop music that quickly became a classic in the American songbook.
Other notable additions include Schoolhouse Rock— which is a series of animated shorts with catchy songs that teach children grammar, math, and other school subjects — and Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” a civil rights song which in response to the murder of Medgar Evers and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
The registry’s lineup begins chronologically with the earliest known recordings of Yiddish songs in 1901-05, as per Variety. Afterward, it moves to a ’50s “Gunsmoke” radio serial episode, a ’60s Martin Luther King Jr. speech, and then on to the “Hair” Broadway cast album and forward into the disco era.
The National Recording Registry was created to preserve important recordings into the future as a part of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. Other notable recordings in the registry are Native American language recordings created by anthropologist and linguist Melville Jacobs, which captured 23 different languages from tribes in the Pacific Northwest.