You may have heard about 25 recordings making it into the National Recording Registry. Some got more press than others.
Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878). I can’t find it yet, but it should be available starting August 28, 2021, when the Missouri History Museum starts its St. Louis Sound exhibition.
Nikolina – Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single). This appears to be a 1929 version.
Smyrneikos Balos – Marika Papagika (1928) (single). “An authentic Greek recording.”
When the Saints Go Marching In – Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (1938) (single). He performed this song a lot, but this is among the finest versions.
Christmas Eve Broadcast – Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941), right after the US entered WWII.
The Guiding Light – Nov. 22, 1945. I can’t find it, but now I know why it’s on the list. It aired “the first Thanksgiving after the conclusion of World War II… The Rev. Dr. Frank Tuttle gives a moving sermon to a packed church.”
The 1950s and 1960s
Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues – Odetta (1957) (album). My father LOVED her voice.
Lord, Keep Me Day by Day – Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)
Roger Maris hits his 61st home run (October 1, 1961). I don’t know if it’s the one with Phil Rizzuto’s voice, or, more likely that of Red Barber.
Aida – Leontyne Price, et.al. (1962) (album)
Once A Day – Connie Smith (1964) (single) – EIGHT weeks at #1 on the country charts in 1964, though only #101 on the pop charts
Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King (1967) (album). I may still own this on vinyl.
Onto the ’70s and ’80s
Free to Be… You and Me – Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album). I watched the TV special for sure. I might have even bought the album.
The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album). There are YouTube versions with more than 12 songs, but the version I own has the dozen.
Lady Marmalade – Labelle (1974) (single). Patti LaBelle didn’t know what this song was about? She didn’t understand French, evidently.
Late for the Sky – Jackson Browne (1974) (album)
Bright Size Life — Pat Metheny (1976) (album). Didn’t find it.
The Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)
Celebration — Kool and the Gang (1980) (single). On the 22 March 2021 JEOPARDY, R and B and SOUL HITS $800. 40 years later and partygoers still like to get on the dance floor and “celebrate good times” to a hit by this group. Triple Stumper, but I knew it instantly. I have the album on vinyl.
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs – Jessye Norman (1983) (album)
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 – Janet Jackson (1989) (album). I LOVE this album. She performed much of it when I saw her at SPAC in 2018.
Partners – Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album). I was not familiar with this artist, but he performs with Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, John Hiatt, and Los Lobos on songs they wrote or co-wrote, plus Dwight Yoakam, Oscar Tellez, and Ry Cooder
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single). I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when this played on the TV show E.R. just before Dr. Greene’s departure. Maybe not. Possibly.
Illmatic – Nas (1994) (album)
This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money (May 9, 2008). “A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s?”