‘Library of Congress: National Registry of Music’ – Entries Since 1960 (Part 1)

Posted 13 Jan 2013 in Music + TV News


One of the greatest honors in the recording world is to have your work added to the Library of Congress National Registry. Let’s look at the 100 or so entries that were recorded since 1960.

Here are the first 25.

Be sure to visit all four pages

Part 1 / Part 2 /Part 3 / Part 4


  1. “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart” (album). Bob Newhart. (1960)

    Bob Newhart introduced his fresh, new style of deceptively satiric comedy to audiences with this recording in 1960. “The Button-Down Mind” is the first collection of Newhart’s subtle, archly understated, humorous monologues that often represent a one-sided dialog with an unheard partner delivered in his characteristically deadpan style. His humor focuses on an average guy trying to hold on to his composure under some of the most unusual predicaments imaginable. Like Jack Benny, Newhart uses significant pauses to achieve heightened humorous effects. This recording contains his comedy classic, “The Driving Instructor,” where he shines in a one-sided monologue as the instructor of the most dangerous and inept driving student ever to get behind the wheel.Selected for the 2006 registry.

  2. “Drums of Passion” (album). Michael Babatunde Olatunji. (1960)

    Nigerian drummer Michael Babatunde Olatunji came to the United States in the early 1960s and released several popular and influential drumming albums. Musicians as varied as Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, and Carlos Santana have all noted Olatunji’s virtuosity or counted him as an influence. “Drums of Passion” features traditional Nigerian drumming with Western choral arrangements in songs written by Olatunji. It was many Americans’ first exposure to Nigerian drumming. Selected for the 2004 registry.

  3. “Rank Stranger.” The Stanley Brothers. (1960)

    The Stanley Brothers, one of the premier bands of the formative days of bluegrass, always included sacred songs as a featured part of their performances. Their recording of “Rank Stranger,” written by famed gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley Sr. and sung with reverence and simplicity in the traditional mountain style, shows why the Stanley Brothers continue to influence performers today. Carter Stanley’s masterful handling of the verses and his brother Ralph’s soaring tenor refrain produce a distinctive duet. The spare accompaniment of unamplified guitar and mandolin and the emotional call-and-response style vocals heighten the emotional anguish of the lyric.Selected for the 2008 registry.

  4. “Schooner Bradley.” Pat Bonner. (June 11, 1960)

    This recording is representative of the Ivan Walton Collection at the Bentley Library, University of Michigan. In the 1930s, Great Lakes folklorist Ivan Walton collected songs and music in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in an effort to save the music of Great Lakes sailors. This recording by fiddler Pat Bonner reflects and preserves a fading tradition tied to maritime life at the end of the schooner era. Selected for the 2005 registry.

  5. Ali Akbar College of Music archive selections. (1960s-1970s)

    The Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California, was founded in 1967 to provide education in the classical music of Northern India. Ali Akbar Khan, internationally recognized sarode maestro, and Swapan Chaudhuri, tabla maestro, were the primary instructors. The College’s archive contains unique, historic sound recordings, many in the early stages of deterioration. This group of ten recorded concerts of particular value, as selected by the College’s staff, includes rare performances by some of northern India’s foremost musicians including Allauddin Khan, Kishan Maharaj, Nikhil Banerjee, and Alla Rakha. Selected for the 2003 registry.

  6. “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks” (album). Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. (1961)

    The secret to living 2000 years? “Never touch fried foods!” In their party routine first performed for friends, Mel Brooks played a 2000-year-old man, while Carl Reiner, as the straight man, interviewed him. After much convincing, the two writers for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” recorded their ad-libbed dialogue for a 1961 album. Interview subjects ranged from marriage (“I was married over 200 times!”) and children (“I have over 1500 children and not one of them ever comes to visit!”) to transportation (“What was the means of transportation? Fear.”). Selected for the 2008 registry.

  7. “At Last.” Etta James. (1961)

    Etta James’ recording of “At Last” is widely acknowledged as a “crossover” masterpiece. The song was written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the 1941 Glenn Miller film, “Orchestra Wives.” It became the title track on the first album that James recorded for Leonard and Phil Chess in 1961. In the producers’ attempt to widen James’ audience and sales, the album features many jazz and pop standards in addition to blues, which had been the focus of James’ work until that time. Her sultry, blues-inflected approach to “At Last”–set in a brilliant strings and rhythm section arrangement by Riley Hampton–transcends genre, like all great crossover interpretations.Selected for the 2008 registry.

  8. “Crazy.” Patsy Cline. (1961)

    Patsy Cline is considered one of country music’s greatest singers and is an inspiration to many contemporary female vocalists. “Crazy,” a perfect vehicle to showcase Cline’s poignant, heartbreaking voice and suburb musicanship, also demonstrates the song-writing prowess of Willie Nelson. It is an excellent example of the urbane Nashville Sound, which became popular in country music after the rise of rock and roll. Selected for the 2003 registry.

  9. “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two).” Max Mathews, John L.Kelly, Jr., and Carol Lochbaum (1961)

    This recording, made at Bell Laboratories on an IBM 704 mainframe computer, is the earliest known recording of a computer-synthesized voice singing a song. The recording was created by John L. Kelly, Jr. and Carol Lochbaum, and featured musical accompaniment written by Max Mathews. Arthur C. Clarke, who witnessed a demonstration of the piece, was so impressed that he incorporated it in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” When Clarke’s fictional HAL 9000 computer is being involuntarily disconnected near the end of the story, as it devolves it sings “Daisy Bell.” Selected for the 2009 registry.

  10. “Judy at Carnegie Hall” (album). Judy Garland. (1961)

    Judy Garland’s singing and acting career spanned vaudeville to movies, radio, and television. She was revered for her musical strengths and personal vulnerabilities. This live concert recording exemplifies her ability to form an intimate relationship with the audience and includes a moving performance of “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” Selected for the 2003 registry.

  11. Inaugural of John F. Kennedy. (January 20, 1961)

    John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States on January 20, 1961, a bitterly cold and snowy day in Washington. The youngest person ever elected to the Presidency and the first Roman Catholic, his inaugural address spoke of the “New Frontier” and declared to the nation, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” Kennedy had invited noted poet Robert Frost to take part in the ceremony as well. Frost wrote a poem, “Dedication,” for the event but, due to the sun’s glare on the snow, was unable to read all of it. Instead, Frost movingly recited from memory “The Gift Outright,” a poem he had written years earlier. Selected for the 2003 registry.

  12. “The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings” (album). Bill Evans Trio. (June 25, 1961)

    All five sets performed by the Bill Evans Trio on June 25, 1961, at the Village Vanguard club in New York City were recorded, resulting in what are recognized as some of the greatest live recordings in the history of jazz. The trio, consisting of Bill Evans (piano), Paul Motian (drums) and Scott LaFaro (bass), has been credited with redefining jazz piano trios by including the bass and drums as equal partners rather than a rhythm section accompanying a piano soloist. The performances would be the last of the trio. LaFaro was tragically killed in a car crash ten days later. Producer Orrin Keepnews has recalled, “I remember listening to the tapes and saying, ‘There’s nothing bad here!’” Complete recordings of all five sets were released in 2005. Selected for the 2009 registry.

  13. “Green Onions.” Booker T. & the M.G.’s. (1962)

    Booker T. & the M.G.’s were a rarity when they were formed in the early 1960’s:  a racially integrated rhythm and blues group.  Formed as a house band for Stax Records, Booker T. & the M.G.’s were playing around in the studio in early 1962 when they came up with two catchy instrumentals.  “Green Onions” was originally intended as the B-side to “Behave Yourself,” but was quickly reissued as the A-side, then later, as the title cut to their first LP.  Anchored by the rhythm section of drummer Al Jackson, Jr., and bassist Lewie Steinberg, “Green Onions” is propelled by Booker T. Jones’ driving organ and Steve Cropper’s stinging guitar. Selected for the 2011 registry.

  14. “Peace Be Still” (album). James Cleveland. (1962)

    This enormously successful gospel recording influenced many later groups and remains an excellent example of gospel performance. Rev. Cleveland, a protege of Thomas A. Dorsey and Roberta Martin, was himself a pioneer gospel recording artist, and the first to make a live gospel album. “Peace Be Still” features keyboardist Billy Preston and the Angelic Choir of Nutley, New Jersey. Selected for the 2004 registry.

  15. William Faulkner address at West Point Military Academy. (April 19-20, 1962)

    Three months before his death, in one of his last public appearances, William Faulkner spent two days as a guest lecturer at West Point, where he read from his novel “The Reivers” and participated in a question-and-answer session with the press and public. Recorded and transcribed by two English professors at the Academy, Joseph L. Fant III and Robert Ashley, Faulkner is extremely candid, lucid and generous. Among the subjects he discusses are Hemingway, Dreiser, race relations and the future of the South and the purpose of literature.Selected for the 2005 registry.

  16. Studs Terkel interview with James Baldwin. (September 29, 1962)

    Representative of the Studs Terkel Collection at the Chicago Historical Society. From 1952 to 1997, Studs Terkel hosted a radio program featuring interviews with a broad variety of performing artists, writers, poets, playwrights, historians, political commentators, activists and people who in other circumstances might be termed “average” Americans. He has long been recognized as an outstanding interviewer and practitioner of oral history. His skills extended beyond getting others to talk candidly about themselves to producing revealing interchanges that illuminated and informed about creativity, commitment and life in the United States. Selected for the 2005 registry.

  17. “Be My Baby.” The Ronettes. (1963)

    This single is often cited as the quintessence of the “girl group” aesthetic of the early 1960s and is also one of the best examples of producer Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” style. Opening with Hal Blaine’s infectious and much imitated drumbeat, distinctive features of the song, all carefully organized by Spector, include castanets, a horn section, strings and the able vocals of Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett. Enhancing the already symphonic quality of the recording is Spector’s signature use of reverb. Selected for the 2006 registry.

  18. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” (album). Bob Dylan. (1963)

    This album is considered by some to be the most important collection of original songs issued in the 1960s. It includes “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the era’s popular and powerful protest anthem. Dylan’s lyrics, music, and performing style marked him as a highly-influential figure in the urban folk-music revival of the 1960s and 1970s, whose work remains significant and influential today. Selected for the 2002 registry.

  19. “The Girl from Ipanema.” Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Astrud Gilberto. (1963)

    This instantly recognizable performance popularized the melodic, samba-based, Brazilian bossa nova sound in the U.S. Guitarist and song composer Antonio Carlos Jobim teamed with saxophonist Stan Getz and Gilberto’s wife, vocalist Astrud Gilberto, to create this sensuous recording. Selected for the 2004 registry.

  20. “Live at the Apollo” (album). James Brown. (1963)

    James Brown’s best-selling “Live at the Apollo” remains significant for presenting his incandescent performances of “I’ll Go Crazy,” “Think” and “Night Train.” At the time of its release, none of Brown’s prior studio albums had done justice to his dynamic performance style. With this album a wider audience became familiar with his velocity and showmanship. Selected for the 2004 registry.

  21. United States Marine Band (album). (1963)

    In 1963, the United States Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force bands and choruses were engaged (by special permission) to make albums of American music which would then be sold to help fund the National Cultural Center (later the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). The Marine Band, in particular, who had just returned from an extensive tour of the U.S., was in prime form. The resulting recording by Herman Diaz, Jr., the legendary producer for RCA Victor, is considered by many experts as one of the finest recordings in band history due to its incredible sound quality. Selected for the 2007 registry.

  22. “We Shall Overcome” (album). Pete Seeger. (1963)

    Pete Seeger’s Carnegie Hall concert on June 8, 1963, was the culmination of his recent tour on behalf of civil rights. A highpoint of these concerts was his performance of “We Shall Overcome.” First sung as a gospel song, “I Shall Overcome,” and later used on labor picket lines, Seeger changed the opening word from “I” to “We,” enlisting the song in support of the Civil Rights Movement. Seeger and many other musicians of the 1960s hoped that music would be a strong force in the struggle to eliminate injustice and heal divisions in our country. This live recording of his concert captures not only Seeger’s masterful performance but also the communal spirit of the folk revival movement. Selected for the 2006 registry.

  23. “I Have a Dream.” Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (August 28, 1963)

    Dr. King’s address is considered a landmark event in the civil rights struggle against discrimination and racism.Selected for the 2002 registry.

  24. “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Sam Cooke. (1964)

    Sam Cooke, a central figure in the creation of soul music in the 1950s and 1960s, composed “A Change Is Gonna Come” to express his impatience with the progress of civil equality in the United States. The song would go on to become an anthem of the civil rights movement in the United States. Selected for the 2006 registry.

  25. “Dancing in the Street.” Martha and the Vandellas. (1964)

    This rousing dance hit has been cited as one of the first examples of what would come to be known as the Motown sound. Written by Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter, the song was turned down by another Motown act before Martha and the Vandellas performed it in the Motown studios. The group, which consisted of Martha Reeves, Rosalyn Ashford and Annette Beard, had alternated between singing backup for other Motown acts and working on their own material, but, after the success of this song, their career as a backup group was definitively ended. The African-American community would come to infuse the tune with political sentiments. Selected for the 2005 registry.

    Part 1 / Part 2 /Part 3 / Part 4


Posted by Larry Carta

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