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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Every year, the Library of Congress chooses 25 sound recordings to preserve and songs dominate this year's list.

(Soundbite of humpback whale)

NORRIS: That's not some sort of avant-garde electronica, it's songs of the humpback whale. They were recorded using underwater microphones in 1970. But let's move on to dry land now - very dry land.

(Soundbite of song, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds")

SONS OF THE PIONEERS (Musicians): (Singing) Drifting along with a tumbling tumbleweed.

NORRIS: "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," sung by Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer and Bob Nolan in 1934. They called themselves Sons of the Pioneers. Around the same time, in the Spanish-speaking Southwest, this song was popular.

(Soundbite of song, "Mal Hombre")

Ms. LYDIA MENDOZA (Singer): (Singing in Spanish)

NORRIS: "Mal Hombre" - that's "Bad Man" in English, sung by Houston-born Lydia Mendoza. She was one of the first recording stars of Tejano music.

(Soundbite of song, "Aja")

STEELY DAN (Musicians): (Singing) Aja, when all my dime dancin' is through I run to you.

NORRIS: "Aja." The song by Steely Dan. "Aja's" the title track from Steely Dan's 1977 album. And a confession here, I named my 11-year-old daughter after that song.

The Library of Congress put the entire album on this year's list as a stellar example of jazz, blues and pop fusion.

(Soundbite of song, "I Know")

DE LA SOUL (Musicians): (Singing) I know I love you better.

NORRIS: "I Know," the 1989 hit from the trio De La Soul sampled that Steely Dan album. De La's debut album "3 Feet High and Rising" made the Library of Congress cut. A personal favorite from that album...

(Soundbite of song, "Me, Myself and I")

DE LA SOUL: (Singing) Just me, myself and I.

NORRIS: Dance among yourselves.

(Soundbite of song, "Me, Myself and I")

DE LA SOUL: (Singing) Just me, myself and I. Just me, myself and I.

NORRIS: This is NPR.

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