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Bands, Presidents Join National Recording Registry

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Bands, Presidents Join National Recording Registry

Remembrances

Bands, Presidents Join National Recording Registry

Bands, Presidents Join National Recording Registry

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The Library of Congress has selected 50 recordings to preserve in the National Recording Registry. It includes a Modesto, Calif., high school band playing Beethoven in 1930, a recording of the first official transatlantic telephone conversation, Calvin Coolidge's 1925 inauguration, and the radio broadcast of the Joe Louis, Max Schmeling fight in 1938. Plus, songs from Stevie Wonder, Sonic Youth, Mahalia Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Martha and the Vandellas. We speak to Eugene DeAnna, head of the Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress added 50 sound recordings to its collection today. It's an attempt to preserve sounds that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. Among the items selected, Calvin Coolidge's 1925 inauguration speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF COOLIDGE'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS)

CALVIN COOLIDGE: My countrymen, no one can contend with current conditions without finding much that is satisfying and still more that is encouraging.

SIEGEL: Also, Bob Hope's first appearance on the radio show, Command Performance, on July 7, 1942.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMAND PERFORMANCE)

BOB HOPE: Say, thank you, Paul Douglas, and hi, you fellows. This is Bob Rubber Drive Hope, telling you guys out there that we're all going to keep turning in our rubber suspenders until we've caught the axis with our pantsers down.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: And a 1938 recording of Arturo Toscanini, conducting the NBC Symphony's performance of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. Now, all of these are what you might call old and scratchy and ripe for preservation, but Stevie Wonder?

(SOUNDBITE OF STEVIE WONDER)

STEVIE WONDER: Isn't she pretty, truly the angel's best?

EUGENE DEANNA: When we think about preserving audio, you look at Stevie Wonder SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, and you think that doesn't need to be preserved, I have a copy of that in my record collection.

SIEGEL: That's Eugene DeAnna, Head of the Recorded Sound section of the Library of Congress.

DEANNA: SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, as a recording and music aside, it was such a crafted work. He actually spent two years in the studio working on that recording, layering tracks, bringing in guest musicians, so when you look at the recording process itself, it's one of those landmark works.

SIEGEL: And Stevie Wonder's not the only chart-topper added to the National Recording Registry. There's Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, Dancing in the Streets by Martha and the Vandellas, Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill and, Gen X-ers brace yourself, Sonic Youth is slated for preservation.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONIC YOUTH)

SIEGEL: Eugene Deanna says the library receives nominations for the National Recording Registry from the public and even if a sound recording doesn't make it in one year, it remains on the list for future consideration. Sometimes, he says, it's a matter of tracking down the original or the best recording of a song, a speech or a performance.

To see the full list of the registry's recordings, you can visit the Library of Congress's website, LOC.gov.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

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