Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tupac, R.E.M., Patti Smith, and 22 others inducted into the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress today announced its annual list of songs deemed worthy of saving from a raging wildfire, or whatever it is the National Recording Preservation Board does with them. As always, inductees into the National Recording Registry were nominated by the board and online suggestions from the public, under the criteria that they be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” and at least 10 years old. (See you in a decade, “Blow That Vuvuzela”!)

And once again, it’s an eclectic mix, ranging from Little Richard to Willie Nelson to Patti Smith to Bill Cosby’s second comedy album to field recordings taken from the Battle of Guam. Of particular note is Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama,” which will become only the third hip-hop song (after Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy) deemed worthy of preservation, chosen because it’s a “moving and eloquent homage to both his own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference,” and the fact that it’s “relatively tame.” Here’s the complete list in chronological order—and feel free to start compiling your own suggestions for next year’s inductees, keeping in mind that the full list already includes Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, the Star Wars soundtrack, and a recording of Kewaunee, Wisconsin’s foghorn.


• "Fon der Choope" (From the Wedding), Abe Elenkrig's Yidishe Orchestra (1913)

• "Canal Street Blues,"King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (1923)

• "Tristan und Isolde," Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, NBC Broadcast of March 9, 1935


• "When You Wish Upon a Star," Cliff Edwards (recorded, 1938; released, 1940)

• "America's Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to England?"(May 8, 1941)


• The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second Battle of Guam (July 20 - August 11, 1944)

• "Evangeline Special" and "Love Bridge Waltz," Iry LeJeune (1948)

• "The Little Engine That Could," narrated by Paul Wing (1949)

• Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State (1950-1954)


• "Tutti Frutti," Little Richard (1955)

• "Smokestack Lightning," Howlin' Wolf (1956)

• "Gypsy," original cast recording (1959)

• The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)

• "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)," Max Mathews (1961)

• "I Started Out As a Child," Bill Cosby (1964)

• "Azucar Pa Ti," Eddie Palmieri (1965)

• "Today!," Mississippi John Hurt (1966))

• "Silver Apples of the Moon," Morton Subotnick (1967)

• "Soul Folk in Action," The Staple Singers (1968)

• "The Band," The Band (1969)

• "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn (1970)

• "Red Headed Stranger," Willie Nelson (1975)

• "Horses," Patti Smith (1975)

• "Radio Free Europe" R.E.M. (1981))

• "Dear Mama," Tupac Shakur (1995)


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