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.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.