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April 5, 2005

Librarian of Congress Names 50 Recordings to the 2004 National Recording Registry

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has made his annual selection of 50 sound recordings for the National Recording Registry. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian is responsible for annually selecting recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Registry recordings must be at least 10 years old. In announcing the registry, the Librarian said, "Once again, we have the opportunity to celebrate the rich variety of music recorded in the United States and the importance of sound recording in our lives."

The National Recording Registry was created by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, legislation that promotes and supports audio preservation. The registry celebrates the richness and variety of the nation's audio legacy and underscores the responsibility to assure the long-term preservation of that legacy for future generations.

Congressman Steny Hoyer was one of the sponsors of the legislation establishing the first nationwide effort to preserve the nation's sound recordings. "I am pleased we are adding 50 sound recordings to the National Recording Registry to ensure that future generations will be able to hear and experience the musical selections which have become a part of this country's heritage," he said.

Nominations for the registry were gathered from members of the public, who submitted suggestions online (www.loc.gov/nrpb/), and from the National Recording Preservation Board, which comprises leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. The board also assisted the Librarian with the review of nominations.

The new additions to the registry honor a wide variety of outstanding spoken and musical recordings. Among the selections is the sound recording of one of 20th century's greatest scientific achievements -- the landing on the moon – which was beamed into homes throughout the world. The registry also highlights the use of sound in the natural sciences, as demonstrated through Professor Katharine Payne's revelatory recordings of elephants. Selections include a number of significant political recordings, as well as the first complete recording of the Bible.

Hip-hop superstar Chuck D., whose album "Fear of a Black Planet" was added to the registry, and Michael Feinstein, one of the premier interpreters of American popular song, attended the news conference to discuss the importance of sound preservation. Feinstein paid tribute to George Gershwin and Fred and Adele Astaire's 1926 recording of "Fascinating Rhythm," by performing it on Gershwin's own piano, now at the Library of Congress and on view in the George and Ira Gershwin Room, a permanent exhibition for materials from the Library's extensive Gershwin Collection. The Astaire-Gershwin recording was named to the third annual registry.

On behalf of Congress and the National Recording Preservation Board, the Library of Congress is conducting a study on the state of audio preservation and will develop a comprehensive national recording preservation program, the first of its kind. The study encompasses the current state of sound-recording archiving, preservation, restoration activities and access to those recordings by scholars and the public. The Council on Library and Information Resources is assisting the Library in conducting the audio preservation study.

The Library is identifying and preserving the best existing versions of the recordings on the registry. These efforts have received support from record companies and archives. Sony BMG, in particular, is assisting the national preservation program by locating the best surviving elements of its recordings and duplicating them at no cost to the Library, ensuring that the best existing versions are added to the National Recording Registry Collection at the Library of Congress.

The Library is currently accepting nominations for the 2005 National Recording Registry at the National Recording Preservation Board Web site, www.loc.gov/nrpb/. The deadline for public nominations is July 1, 2005.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the world's largest library with more than 130 million items, which includes nearly 3 million sound recordings. The Library's Recorded Sound Section holds the largest number of radio broadcasts in the United States – more than 500,000.

A selection of audio excerpts and images will be available to the press through April 10 at www.loc.gov/locvideo/nrr/.

2004 National Recording Registry (in chronological order)

  1. "Gypsy Love Song," Eugene Cowles (1898)
  2. "Some of These Days," Sophie Tucker (1911)
  3. "The Castles in Europe One-Step"("Castle House Rag"), Europe's Society Orchestra (1914)
  4. "Swanee," Al Jolson (1920)
  5. Armistice Day broadcast by Woodrow Wilson (1923)
  6. "See See Rider Blues," Gertrude "Ma" Rainey (1923)
  7. "Charleston," Golden Gate Orchestra (1925)
  8. "Fascinating Rhythm" from "Lady, Be Good!" Fred and Adele Astaire; George Gershwin, piano (1926)
  9. NBC radio broadcast coverage of Charles A. Lindbergh's arrival and reception in Washington, D.C. (1927)
  10. "Stardust," Hoagy Carmichael (1927)
  11. "Blue Yodel (T for Texas)," Jimmie Rodgers (1927)
  12. "Ain't Misbehavin'" Thomas "Fats" Waller (1929)
  13. "The Suncook Town Tragedy," Mabel Wilson Tatro of Springfield, Vt. (July 1930)
  14. "Gregorio Cortez," Trovadores Regionales (1929)
  15. Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Sergei Rachmaninoff, piano; Leopold Stokowski, conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra (1929)
  16. Rosina Cohen oral narrative from the Lorenzo D. Turner Collection (1932)
  17. "Stormy Weather," Ethel Waters (1933)
  18. "Body and Soul," Coleman Hawkins (1939)
  19. Sergey Prokofiev, "Peter and the Wolf," Serge Koussevitzky, conductor; Richard Hale, narrator; Boston Symphony Orchestra (1939)
  20. "In the Mood," Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (1939)
  21. Edward R. Murrow broadcast from London (1940)
  22. "We Hold These Truths," radio broadcast (1941)
  23. Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 23, B minor, Vladimir Horowitz, piano; Arturo Toscanini; conductor; NBC Symphony Orchestra (1943)
  24. "Down by the Riverside," Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1944)
  25. "U.S. Highball (A Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip), Harry Partch; Gate 5 Ensemble (1946)
  26. "Four Saints in Three Acts," Virgil Thomson, composer, with members of original 1934 cast (1947)
  27. "Manteca," Dizzy Gillespie Big Band with Chano Pozo (1947)
  28. Jack Benny radio program of March 28, 1948
  29. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (1949)
  30. "Lovesick Blues," Hank Williams (1949)
  31. "Guys and Dolls," original cast recording (1950)
  32. "Old Soldiers Never Die" (Farewell Address to Congress), Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur (1951)
  33. "Songs by Tom Lehrer" (1953)
  34. "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," Muddy Waters (1954)
  35. "Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)," The Penguins (1954)
  36. Tuskegee Institute Choir Sings Spirituals, directed by William L. Dawson (1955)
  37. "Messiah," Eugene Ormandy, conductor; Richard Condie, choir director, Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Philadelphia Orchestra (1958)
  38. "Giant Steps," John Coltrane (1959)
  39. "Drums of Passion," Michael Babatunde Olatunji (1960)
  40. "Peace Be Still," James Cleveland (1962)
  41. "The Girl from Ipanema," Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto (1963)
  42. "Live at the Apollo," James Brown (1965)
  43. "Pet Sounds," The Beach Boys (1966)
  44. King James version of the Bible, Alexander Scourby (1966)
  45. Remarks from Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's broadcast from the moon (1969)
  46. "The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East" (1971)
  47. "Star Wars" (soundtrack), John Williams (1977)
  48. "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy (1989)
  49. Recordings of Asian elephants by Katharine Payne (1989)
  50. "Nevermind," Nirvana (1991)

2004 National Recording Registry (in chronological order)

  1. "Gypsy Love Song," Eugene Cowles (1898) - Victor Herbert's 1898 operetta, "The Fortune Teller," was the composer's first popular success for the stage. The Berliner Gramophone Company captured bass Eugene Cowles' performance of one of the operetta's hit songs, "Gypsy Love Song," on what was one of the very first "original cast recordings."
  2. "Some of These Days," Sophie Tucker (1911) - Vaudeville singer and comedienne Sophie Tucker first recorded her signature song for the Edison Company on cylinder. It was the beginning of a recording career that extended nearly 50 years. The Sheldon Brooks song was an ideal vehicle for the earthy star known as "the Last of the Red-Hot Mamas."
  3. "The Castles in Europe One-Step"("Castle House Rag") Europe’s Society Orchestra. (1914) - James Reese Europe was the first black bandleader to record in the United States and was the personal conductor for the immensely popular dancing team of the 1910s, Irene and Vernon Castle. Reese's recordings were important stepping-stones in the development of jazz. They exhibit a frenetic quality, with more looseness and greater syncopation than heard in other dance bands of the era.
  4. "Swanee," Al Jolson (1920) - George Gershwin and Irving Caesar's song, "Swanee," was interpolated into the show, "Sinbad," for Al Jolson. The song became Gershwin's first hit and the energy of Gershwin's song and Jolson's unique ability to "put over" a song with exuberance.
  5. Armistice Day broadcast by Woodrow Wilson (1923) - This recording of President Woodrow Wilson made by phonograph technician Frank L. Capps is the earliest surviving sound recording of a regular radio broadcast. It is also believed to be the earliest known example of a recording made by electrical, rather than acoustic, means.
  6. "See See Rider Blues," Gertrude "Ma" Rainey (1923) - "Ma" Rainey, called by some as "the mother of the blues, " was a pioneering blues artist whose career began as a tent show and vaudeville performer. She is credited with influencing many blue singers, most notably Bessie Smith. Although others recorded blues songs before Rainey and had begun to refine the genre, her recordings retain the powerful earthy directness and poignancy that made her famous. Rainey made numerous recordings for the Paramount label; this recording is from the one session she recorded with Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson.
  7. "Charleston," Golden Gate Orchestra (1925) - The band on this Edison disc recording included such notable musicians as Red Nichols, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey and Adrian Rollini. The selection represents the Edison Disc Record Master Mold Collection at the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, New Jersey. The Edison Phonograph Works used these metal molds to mass-produce disc records from 1910 to 1929 and are considered the generation closest to original wax master. They are the best-sounding sources for Edison disc recordings, as well as the most stable archival format, archivally.
  8. "Fascinating Rhythm" from "Lady, Be Good!" Fred and Adele Astaire; George Gershwin, piano (1926) - "Lady Be Good!," George and Ira Gershwin's debut Broadway score, produced such notables as "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Oh, Lady Be Good." The show starred siblings Fred and Adele Astaire. Several songs from the score were recorded in 1926 when the musical was touring in London. The recordings offer an opportunity to appreciate the innocent appeal of Adele, who retired from show business in 1932, and the piano accompaniments of composer George Gershwin.
  9. NBC radio broadcast coverage of Charles A. Lindbergh’s arrival and reception in Washington, D.C. (1927) - NBC radio's June 11, 1927, coverage of the arrival of Charles A. Lindbergh in Washington, D.C., was a landmark technical and journalistic achievement for the fledgling network. Radio reporters were stationed at the three locations in the city to provide successive, live descriptions of the pilot's arrival: the Washington Navy Yard; the procession along Pennsylvania Avenue; and his reception at the foot of the Washington Monument by President Calvin Coolidge. The young radio network captured the voices of President Coolidge and Colonel Lindbergh as they spoke to the nation.
  10. "Stardust," Hoagy Carmichael (1927) - "Stardust" was songwriter Hoagy Carmichael’s first great success. It was performed at a rapid tempo when it was first recorded in 1927 by "Hoagy Carmichael (on piano) and his Pals." In later, slower interpretations, "Stardust" became one of the most recorded ballads in jazz and popular repertories. Lyrics were added in to the song in 1931.
  11. "Blue Yodel (T for Texas)," Jimmie Rodgers (1927) - The "blue yodels" of Jimmie Rodgers, the "Father of Country Music, helped to define country music. Rodgers' compositions and recorded performances combined black and white musical forms, and popularized American rural music traditions.
  12. "Ain’t Misbehavin’," Thomas "Fats" Waller (1929) - Thomas "Fats" Waller's solo piano recording of his now-classic composition "Ain’t Misbehavin’" preserves the composer's inventive talents as one of jazz's greatest pianists. Waller developed the "stride" piano tradition to a new level of musical expression.
  13. "Gregorio Cortez," Trovadores Regionales (1929) - This vocal guitar duet, by Pedro Rocha and Lupe Martinez, is an outstanding example of the "corridos" style of ballad. Reflecting the cultural conflicts between Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans in the American Southwest, it describes the heroics of a vaquero falsely accused of murder. The Vocalion recording of "Gregorio Cortez" is representative of the significant recordings being preserved in the Arhoolie Foundation's Strachwitz Frontera Collection of commercially produced Mexican and Mexican-American Recordings at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  14. Sergei Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Sergei Rachmaninoff, piano; Leopold Stokowski, conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra (1929) - Sergei Rachmaninoff's piano performances of his own compositions are considered by many to be unparalleled. Rachmaninoff first recorded the complete 2nd piano concerto in 1929. Two of its three movements were released on acoustically recorded discs in 1924.
  15. "The Suncook Town Tragedy," Mabel Wilson Tatro of Springfield, Vt. (July 1930) - This ballad about a New Hampshire tragedy is one of the earliest recordings made by Helen Hartness Flanders. She recorded many similar vernacular story-songs in her extensive documentation of the vernacular music of Vermont. The recording is held by Middlebury College.
  16. Rosina Cohen oral narrative from the Lorenzo D. Turner Collection (1932) - African American linguist Lorenzo D. Turner recorded numerous Gullah dialect stories, songs, sermons and accounts of slavery days during the summers of 1932 and 1933. In this oral narrative, Rosina Cohen recounts her memories of slaves being freed by Yankees on Edisto Island. The recording is significant as a permanent record of a vanishing American regional dialect and as a document of African American cultural history.
  17. "Stormy Weather," Ethel Waters (1933) - Composer and lyricist Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler intended their 1933 song "Stormy Weather" to be sung by Cab Calloway in a revue showcased at Harlem's Cotton Club. Instead, Ethel Waters performed the song. Waters' "Stormy Weather" became a hit, bringing her tremendous exposure as a jazz singer and incomparable interpreter of the American Songbook. Although she started her career as a blues singer, Waters became a pioneer jazz singer, adapting her voice to a conversational style in which the meaning of the song’s lyrics are conveyed with subtle theatricality.
  18. "Body and Soul," Coleman Hawkins (1939) - An unlikely jukebox hit, this recording by Coleman Hawkins was the most popular and influential recording he ever made, and one of the best-known recorded jazz performances in history. Through the influence of this recording, "Body and Soul" became a standard for tenor sax players, with many later recordings referencing parts of Hawkins' solo and playing in the challenging key of D flat.
  19. Sergey Prokofiev, "Peter and the Wolf," Serge Koussevitzky, conductor; Richard Hale, narrator; Boston Symphony Orchestra (1939) - Sergey Prokofiev brought his "orchestral fairy tale," "Peter and the Wolf," to Moscow audiences in 1936, having composed the music and written the narration as a children's introduction to orchestral music. Prokofiev conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall at the American premiere in 1938. This recording performed by the Boston Symphony, under the direction of Serge Koussevitzky and narrated by Richard Hale, was the first to be released in the United States.
  20. "In the Mood," Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (1939) - Composed by Joe Garland and Andy Razaf, "In the Mood" was one of Glenn Miller's most popular recordings and remains one of the best-known musical themes of the World War II era. Miller led one of the most popular dance bands of the swing era. His arrangements were distinguished by a doubled melody on saxophone with a clarinet one octave higher, and his band’s sound was seamless and precise.
  21. Edward R. Murrow broadcast from London (1940) - Edward R. Murrow's eyewitness news broadcasts of the Battle of Britain presented the emotions and sounds of a city under siege to audiences throughout the United States. One of the most remembered of that series of 1940 broadcasts was on September 21 when Murrow dispassionately described the bombing of London from a rooftop during the blitzkrieg.
  22. "We Hold These Truths," radio broadcast (1941) - Commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, writer/producer Norman Corwin’s "We Hold These Truths, a drama exploring American values, aired one week after the invasion on Pearl Harbor. The broadcast was carried on all four radio networks simultaneously to an audience of more than 60 million listeners, roughly half of the U.S. population at the time. It was the largest audience in history to listen to a dramatic presentation.
  23. Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 23, b-flat minor; Vladimir Horowitz, piano; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, NBC Symphony Orchestra (1943) - To promote the purchase of bonds during World War II, Arturo Toscanini and Vladimir Horowitz donated their services for an Easter Sunday afternoon concert, held at Carnegie Hall on April 25, 1943. The performance raised more than $10 million. The second half of the concert was broadcast by NBC. It consisted of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, the "Nutcracker Suite" and the "Star-Spangled Banner."
  24. "Down by the Riverside," Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1944) - Sister Rosetta Tharpe, considered to be one of the greatest gospel singers of her generation, merged blues and jazz into her performances and influenced many gospel, jazz and rock artists. She sang at John Hammond's historic concert, "From Spirituals to Swing," in Carnegie Hall in 1938. She also was a frequent performer in nightclubs. "Down by the Riverside" captures her spirited guitar playing and unique vocal style, demonstrating clearly her influence on early rhythm-and-blues performers.
  25. "U.S. Highball (A Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip)," Harry Partch, Gate 5 Ensemble (1946) - Harry Partch, American composer and instrument maker, said his music was "based on a monophonic system of acoustic intervals and an expandable source scale of more than 40 notes to the so-called scale." He was known for his adaptation and invention of instruments, including the chromelodeon, the chordophone, the kitchara, the harmonic canon and the bloboys. " U.S. Highball (A Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip)" for chorus and instruments was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1944. It is an account of a freight train ride from California to Chicago, part of a larger body of work that Partch composed after traveling the country. He and his group, Gate 5 Ensemble, recorded on his own label, Gate 5.
  26. "Four Saints in Three Acts," composer Virgil Thomson and members of original 1934 cast (1947) - Virgil Thomson’s opera, "Four Saints in Three Acts, " is generally acknowledged to be one of the greatest American operas. Its libretto was written by Gertrude Stein. RCA Victor recorded selections from the opera in 1947 with many of the original cast members and Thomson conducting the orchestra and choir.
  27. "Manteca," Dizzy Gillespie Big Band with Chano Pozo (1947) - Latin jazz, sometimes called Afro–Cuban jazz, incorporates jazz improvisation and Cuban rhythms. The music strongly emphasizes percussion, using congas, timbales and bongos to supplement piano, guitar or vibes with horns and vocals. A pioneer of this pulsating, infectious sound was Dizzy Gillespie, who was greatly influenced by Chano Pozo, a Cuban singer and drummer. Performing with Gillespie for the first time in 1947, Pozo joined Gillespie’s bebop big band and composed "Manteca" with him. It was later recorded for RCA Victor.
  28. Jack Benny radio program, March 28, 1948 - Jack Benny’s career started in vaudeville, but he soon mastered other show business formats, including radio, television and motion pictures. Benny is best remembered as the parsimonious straight man to his regular casts on radio and television. In the 1948 skit broadcast, Benny was held up by a thief. When asked by the robber, "Your money or your life," Benny paused and replied, "I'm thinking it over."
  29. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (1949) - Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and their band, the Foggy Mountain Boys, made this influential recording for Mercury Records on Dec. 11, 1949, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first of many instrumental hits featuring Scruggs’ three-finger banjo picking style, it has set benchmarks for generations of banjo players and bluegrass performers. The 1949 recording of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" was famously featured as chase music in the 1967 film "Bonnie and Clyde."
  30. "Lovesick Blues," Hank Williams (1949) - This career-making record became Hank Williams No. 1 hit, propelling him from regional success to national stardom. It was this recording that led to Williams’ being invited to perform on the Grand Old Opry. At his first appearance, the Opry audience demanded six encores of his yodeled closing line of the song.
  31. "Guys and Dolls," original cast recording (1950) - The Broadway musical fable "Guys and Dolls" is considered to be one of the greatest musical comedies ever produced. It features a masterful score by Frank Loesser as well as an excellent book based on the short stories of Damon Runyon. The recording by its original cast preserves aurally many definitive performances of the show's musical treasures, most notably, ones by Vivian Blaine and Stubby Kaye.
  32. "Old Soldiers Never Die" (Farewell Address to Congress), Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur (1951) - After President Harry S. Truman relieved Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur of his duty for a series of public statements that urged the invasion of China and hinted that the president was practicing appeasement, MacArthur was invited to address a joint session of Congress. In spite of the controversy surrounding MacArthur, his speech is noted for its eloquence and effectiveness.
  33. "Songs by Tom Lehrer" (1953) - This phenomenally popular album of satiric songs started as a campus hit at Harvard University, where Lehrer was a graduate student in mathematics and a regular performer. Lehrer has said that he recorded it for $15 for release to his Harvard audience, but despite this minuscule budget, it sold an estimated 370,000 copies. Prominent comedians Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Weird Al Yankovich have claimed Lehrer as an influence.
  34. "I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man," Muddy Waters (1954) - Originally recorded in 1941 for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax on a recording expedition to Mississippi, Muddy Waters went on to become an exemplar of Chicago’s electric, urban blues style. "I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man," written by Chess Records mainstay Willie Dixon was one of Waters’ hit numbers. It features a tight band with Dixon on bass, Little Walter on harmonica, Otis Span on piano, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, and Fred Below on drums.
  35. "Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)," The Penguins (1954) - Released as a "B-side," this doo-wop ballad quickly garnered enormous popularity and became one of the first recordings to cross over. It climbed to the No. 3 position on the rhythm-and- blues charts and reached No. 8 on the pop charts. "Billboard" has termed this single the "top R&B record of all time" measured by continuous popular appeal. The Penguins, a vocal group from Los Angeles that formed in 1954, featured high-school friends Cleveland Duncan (lead), Dexter Tisby (tenor), Bruce Tate (baritone) and Curtis Williams (bass). The recording was released on the DooTone label, which was a black-owned and black-operated label.
  36. "Tuskegee Institute Choir Sings Spirituals", directed by William L. Dawson (1955) - This recording is significant not only for its powerful performances, but also because it presents William L. Dawson’s arrangements of spirituals, which are still widely used by choirs today. Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute Choir in 1887. Through tours, recordings and broadcasts, it reached international fame under the direction of Dawson, who led the choir from 1931 to 1955.
  37. "Messiah," Eugene Ormandy, conductor; Richard Condie, choir director; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Philadelphia Orchestra (1958) - The association between the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one of the best-known choral organizations in the United States, and the Philadelphia Orchestra dates to 1936. This best-selling recording of Handel's oratorio was made during a 1958 choir concert tour. It features Eileen Farrell, Martha Lipton, William Warfield and Cunningham Davis.
  38. "Giant Steps," John Coltrane (1959) - John Coltrane’s lightning-fast runs on this debut recording for Atlantic Records have been described by writer Ira Gitler as "sheets of sound." In characteristic fashion, Coltrane plays phrases forward, backward and upside down, exhausting the possible permutations of a motive before proceeding. These fast runs signal Coltrane’s movement away from a chordal approach to jazz in favor of a more scalar approach. "Giant Steps" contains seven original compositions by Coltrane, many of which have become jazz standards.
  39. "Drums of Passion," Michael Babatunde Olatunji (1960) - Nigerian drummer Michael Babatunde Olatunji came to the United States in the early 1960s and released 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. For many Americans, it was their first exposure to Nigerian drumming.
  40. "Peace Be Still," 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, the first to make a "live" gospel album and one of the developers of modern gospel. "Peace Be Still" features keyboardist Billy Preston and the Angelic Choir of Nutley, N.J.
  41. "The Girl from Ipanema," Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto (1963) - This instantly recognizable performance popularized the melodic, samba-based, Brazilian bossa nova sound in the United States. Guitarist and song composer Antonio Carlos Jobim teamed with saxophonist Stan Getz and vocalist Astrud Gilberto to create this sensuous recording, featured on the best-selling LP "Getz/Gilberto."
  42. "Live at the Apollo," James Brown (1965) - 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" with an airtight backup band. At the time of its release, none of Brown’s studio albums had done justice to his dynamic performance style. With this album a wider audience became familiar with his unique style.
  43. "Pet Sounds," The Beach Boys (1966) - Departing from the Beach Boys surf-music roots, "Pet Sounds" was an emotive and carefully planned recording that attempted to present an album as a unified work and not merely a collection of singles. The album is notable for Brian Wilson’s high lead vocals and the harmonizing support from the other band members. Equally compelling are the melodies and the arrangements, the latter featuring, among other instruments, horns, strings, theremin, accordion and a glockenspiel. It has become the most complete statement of Wilson’s musical and lyrical aesthetic. Paul McCartney has remarked on several occasions that it is his favorite album.
  44. King James version of the Bible, Alexander Scourby (1966) - An actor known for his rich bass voice, Alexander Scourby began his career in New York as a Shakespearean stage actor, but was soon narrating television documentaries, hosting opera broadcasts, and providing voice-overs for commercials. Recording for the blind for more than 40 years, he was the voice of great literature. Scourby recorded the King James version of the Bible for the American Foundation for the Blind, taking four years to record all 66 books. It became a best-seller when it was commercially released in 1966.
  45. Remarks from Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s broadcast from the moon (1969) - The landing of Apollo 11 on the moon had the world glued to the television, yet the best remembered recollections of the achievement are aural: "Houston. Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.... I’m going to step off the LEM now. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." These words, first broadcast from the moon, have become some of the most recognizable and memorable sentences spoken in American history.
  46. "The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East" (1971) - This classic live performance of Southern blues rock contains a powerfully emotional rendition of "Tied to the Whipping Post" sung by Gregg Allman. That song became a touring standard for the band, while the album received wide acclaim for its lengthy improvisational jams featuring the distinctive dual lead guitars of Duane Allman and Dickie Betts.
  47. "Star Wars" (soundtrack), John Williams (1977) - This soundtrack score has been credited with reviving symphonic film scores in Hollywood motion pictures. The recording was a best-seller, its themes well remembered and often quoted. When the blockbuster motion picture was released in 1977, home video did not exist. It was the soundtrack recording that enabled audiences to evoke images from the film in their living rooms.
  48. Recordings of Asian elephants by Katharine Payne (1984) - Katharine Payne's recordings of Asian elephants revealed that the animals used infras onic sounds to communicate with one another. Such acoustic monitoring of the mammals has provided important insights into the mechanisms by which matrilineal groups of elephants maintain distance among one another over time and how males locate receptive females. They have been an effective method for surveying populations of elephants. Study of the recordings has opened new windows into the complex lives of elephants and provided a tool for conservation. The recordings are held at the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell University.
  49. "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy (1989) - "Fear of a Black Planet" brought hip-hop respect from critics, millions of new fans and passionate debate over its political content. The album signaled the coupling of a strongly political message with hip-hop music. Its hit single, "Fight the Power," was the theme for Spike Lee’s powerful film "Do the Right Thing." Public Enemy forged a new sound for hip-hop that included funk rhythms, samples from James Brown and Eric Clapton, and found sounds.
  50. "Nevermind," Nirvana (1991) - This surprising chart-buster from a grunge band from Aberdeen, Wash., brought to the public’s attention a new, heavily distorted sound that would catch on and prove an enduring influence in rock. Characterized by raw vocals, driving rhythms and surprising shifts in dynamics, the record resonated with America’s youth and climbed to No. 1 on the "Billboard" charts, selling more than 10 million copies.

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PR 05-087
04/05/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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