US library to save famous baseball, country tunes
The 1908 tune, "Take Me Out to the Ball-game," that became the anthem for America's favorite pastime, will be preserved at the Library of Congress, along with 24 other recordings chosen for their cultural significance, the library announced Wednesday.
This year's selections for the National Recording Registry include Tammy Wynette's 1968 country song that divided American women with the message, "Stand By Your Man."
A more unusual selection traces political history from the past 25 years through instructional tapes from the conservative political group GOPAC that laid out a strategy and message for Republican candidates between 1986 and 1994.
The tapes - which include the voices of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican pollster Frank Luntz and others - drew attention among curators particularly since Ohio Rep. John Boehner's rise to House speaker, said Matthew Barton, curator of recorded sound.
"Boehner is part of that generation of Republicans deeply influenced by those tapes," Barton said. "Especially in the election year of 1994, you find that they really distill a lot of their main talking points and beliefs and their approach to politics and to government."
Other selections include the first recording of contemporary stand-up comedy. It was an unauthorized recording of comedian Mort Sahl in 1955. There are also notable performances by Al Green, Henry Mancini and Nat King Cole.
The library also is inducting the first-ever recorded sounds from as early as 1853, called "phonautograms," that researchers worked for years to play back for the first time in 2008.
In announcing the additions, Librarian of Congress James Billington said the recordings document history, entertainment and artistic expressions, though they won't survive forever on tape or other outdated media.
"Songs, words and the natural sounds of the world that we live in have been captured on one of the most perishable of all of our art media," he said.
The library works to digitize recorded sound and video in formats for long-term preservation. Congress created the recording registry in 2000 to ensure significant audio recordings aren't lost. They must be at least 10 years old and be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
The latest additions to the registry in chronological order are:
1. Phonautograms, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville (ca. 1853-1861)
2. "Take Me Out to the Ball-game," Edward Meeker, accompanied by the Edison Orchestra (1908)
3. Cylinder Recordings of Ishi (1911-14)
4. "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground," Blind Willie Johnson (1927)
5. "It's the Girl," The Boswell Sisters with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (1931)
6. "Mal Hombre," Lydia Mendoza (1934)
7. "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," The Sons of the Pioneers (1934)
8. "Talking Union," The Almanac Singers (1941)
9. "Jazz at the Philharmonic," (July 2, 1944)
10. "Pope Marcellus Mass" (Palestrina), The Roger Wagner Chorale (1951)
11. "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest," The Rev. C. L. Franklin (1953)
12. "Tipitina," Professor Longhair (1953)
13. "At Sunset," Mort Sahl (1955)
14. Interviews with jazz musicians for the Voice of America, Willis Conover (1956)
15. "The Music From 'Peter Gunn,'" Henry Mancini (1959)
16. United Sacred Harp Musical Convention in Fyffe, Ala., field recordings by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins (1959)
17. "Blind Joe Death," John Fahey (1959, 1964, 1967)
18. "Stand By Your Man," Tammy Wynette (1968)
19. "Trout Mask Replica," Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band (1969)
20. "Songs of the Humpback Whale" (1970)
21. "Let's Stay Together," Al Green (1971)
22. "Black Angels (Thirteen Images from the Dark Land)," George Crumb, CRI Recordings (1972)
23. "Aja," Steely Dan (1977)
24. "3 Feet High and Rising," De La Soul (1989)
25. GOPAC strategy and instructional tapes (1986-1994)