Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Speech on “A Date That Will Live in Disgrace.” The song by the rock band Journey about “a girl from a small town living in a lonely world” who takes an overnight train that goes everywhere. And first-hand descriptions of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Each of these are “unforgettable sounds from the country’s history,” the Library of Congress said Wednesday, adding that they are among 25 recordings selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry this year.
Since 2002, the Librarian of Congress, with expert advice, has selected recordings that are at least 10 years old and are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” for inclusion on the registry.
The program, library officials said, aims to provide a long-term archive for preserving the recordings and recognizing their importance.
The registry “reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation’s history and culture,” Congressional Librarian Carla Hayden said in a statement.
“The National Library is proud to help preserve these recordings,” she added.
Other recordings selected this year include Alicia Keys’ first album, “Songs in A Minor”; the 1997 album “Buena Vista Social Club”; a 1956 recording of Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the Newport Jazz Festival; and the 1974 radio call of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, which broke a record previously held by Babe Ruth.
The 575 recordings already included in the National Register contain classical music; opera performances; blues and pop songs; monologues and poems; and speeches and radio broadcasts reflecting major news events. Among them are Robert F. Kennedy’s speech on the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the 1973 Wailers album ‘Burnin’, and a 1977 recording of a Grateful Dead concert at Cornell University.
That diversity is evident in this year’s selections, including all of Roosevelt’s speeches as president and the 1981 karaoke-favorite single Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which the library described as “the personal empowerment anthem of millions.”
One of the more sombre recordings chosen this year consists of the September 11, 2001 broadcast by radio station WNYC, which at the time was located in lower Manhattan, blocks from the World Trade Center.
That morning, station workers broke with scheduled programming to describe the chaos of the terror attacks on the Twin Towers, broadcasting what the library called “the first eyewitness accounts of the tragedy.”
“As the story unfolded,” the library wrote, “WNYC’s dedicated staff stayed afloat.”