Library of Congress Picks 50 Recordings
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 11, 2006
Filed at 2:41 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A high school band plays Beethoven. President
Calvin Coolidge delivers his inaugural address. Fats Domino turns
''Blueberry Hill,'' a hit for big-band leader Glenn Miller, into a
rock 'n' roll classic.
They're among the 50 records that the Library of Congress has deemed
worthy of preservation this year.
''The National Recording Registry represents a stunning array of the
diversity, humanity and creativity found in our sound heritage,
nothing less than a flood of noise and sound pulsating into the
American bloodstream,'' Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said
in announcing the choices for 2006.
The library took the occasion to announce a rare find: a 1940 jam
session featuring tenor saxophonist Lester Young, The night club
couldn't be positively identified, said Gene DeAnna, head of the
library's recorded sound section, but it may have been the Village
Vanguard in downtown Manhattan.
''It wasn't Carnegie Hall,'' DeAnna said at a news conference. ''At
one point you can hear the MC announcing, 'The chili con carne is
ready, if anyone wants to order it.'''
Loren Schoenberg, executive director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem,
compared it to finding a Shakespeare sonnet or a short story by Ernest
The library also announced that it had recently received 186 test
pressings of records made in the late 1950s or early 1960s, among them
25 songs by bluesman Robert Johnson. The pressings, donated by blues
collector Tom Jacobsen, were used to make the first Johnson reissue
anthology, ''King of the Delta Blues,'' which influenced the Rolling
Stones and other groups.
The Modesto, Calif., High School band did well in competitions of the
1920s and 1930s. Few high school bands were recorded until the late
1940s, making the Modesto school's 1930 version of Beethoven's
''Egmont Overture'' a rarity.
Coolidge, known as a man of few words, spoke for 47 minutes in the
first broadcast inaugural address. A circuit of 21 radio stations was
put together for the event in 1925.
Domino recorded his relaxed version of ''Blueberry Hill,'' adding
Creole cadences, in Los Angeles in 1956. He was inspired by a Louis
Armstrong version of the song, which Miller had taken to No. 1 in
Other rock classics being inducted include Jerry Lee Lewis' ''Whole
Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'' and Buddy Holly's ''That'll Be the Day,''
both from 1957; the Jimi Hendrix Experience's ''Are You Experienced?''
from 1967; and Sonic Youth's landmark noise-rock album ''Daydream
Nation,'' from 1988.
Other sounds to be preserved include a radio broadcast by Clem
McCarthy of Joe Louis' first-round knockout of Max Schmeling in 1938.
The audience was estimated at 70 million. ''The symbolism of an
African-American defeating a citizen of the political state that
proclaimed the superiority of the white race was lost on no one,'' the
Samuel Barber's ''Adagio for Strings'' was performed the same year by
the NBC Symphony, led by Arturo Toscanini. The library noted that the
work has been called the ''American anthem for sadness and grief.''
Every year since 2000, the library has registered recordings ''that
are culturally, historically or aesthetically important and/or inform
or reflect life in the United States.'' Last year it unveiled newly
discovered tapes of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane from 1957, a
discovery that yielded one of the top-selling jazz CDs of 2005.
On the Web:
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-home.html