The Washington Post

Library of Congress makes 25 additions to National Recording Registry

The Library of Congress is adding the soundtrack for the 1977 film “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta (AP)

The sounds of silence, psychedelia and “Saturday Night Fever” are headed to the Library of Congress.

The library announced 25 fresh additions to its National Recording Registry on Thursday, a growing collection of audio recordings recognized for their “cultural, artistic and historic importance” to be preserved for the ages.

Among them: a D-Day radio broadcast by journalist George Hicks, the original cast album of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 breakthrough “The Sound of Silence,” Pink Floyd’s rock opus “Dark Side of the Moon” and the defining platter of the disco era, the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

In a statement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “Congress created the National Recording Registry to celebrate the richness and variety of our audio heritage and to underscore our responsibility for long-term preservation, to assure that legacy can be appreciated and studied for generations.”

This year’s registry announcement comes a little more than a month after the library shared its National Recording Preservation Plan, a 32-point program outlining its approach for protecting sound recordings for the ears of generations of Americans to come.

The congressionally mandated plan resulted from a decade of collaboration between the library and its National Recording Preservation Board, which includes musicians, archivists, librarians, musicologists and other figures in the recording industry.

Each year, the board offers advice to Billington, who, since 2002, has annually selected 25 recordings to land on the registry. Fifty were added the first year, which puts the list at 375.

The recordings added this year span from 1918 to 1980, and include Van Cliburn’s 1958 rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1, Ornette Coleman’s pathfinding “The Shape of Jazz to Come,” Chubby Checker’s dance craze sparker “The Twist,” composer Philip Glass and theater director Robert Wilson’s landmark 1979 collaboration “Einstein on the Beach,” and the self-titled debut from punk heroes the Ramones.

Clarification: A previous version of this story misnamed the Simon & Garfunkel song. This version has been updated.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about Adele's sadness, Kendrick Lamar's fury, Young Thug's genius and T-Pain's vulnerability.



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