Three of the fourteen SHOF Inductees honored (left to right) - Jay-Z, Cyndi Lauper and Neil Diamond
"Sweet Caroline," written by SHOF inductee and Johnny Mercer Award winner Neil Diamond, 2018 inductee Jay-Z's album "The Blueprint", and Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" top the list of 14 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees who were a key creative force behind legendary recordings selected this year for the prestigious National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. The 2018 selections, announced this week by Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, will become part of an elite group of recordings destined for special preservation and scholarship attention due to their "cultural, historic and aesthetic significance to American society and the nation's audio heritage."
This year's list ranges from a 1914 recording of work by SHOF inductee Victor Herbert to a 2001 album by Jay-Z.
Fourteen SHOF inductees contributed to the 13 popular musical recordings honored by the Library of Congress this year. They include:
"Sweet Caroline", the iconic stadium anthem, written and performed by musical legend Neil Diamond, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984, honored with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and presented with SHOF's highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award just last year. Released in 1969 as "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" the record quickly rose to the top of the charts and has since sold millions of copies, now including millions of digital downloads. It's sustained use as one of the most beloved sports anthems has earned it a special place in American musical history.
"The Blueprint," the album released in 2001 by Jay-Z, the first rap artist/songwriter to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The 2018 landmark induction was celebrated by President Barrack Obama. "The Blueprint" is widely regarded as his most impactful and innovative early work. Co-produced by the then unknown Kanye West and Just Blaze, it went on to be rated at the top of Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums of the 2000s". Critics hailed it as "his most personal, straightforward album", a work that demonstrated his wide range from battle raps to triumphant anthems about life at the top.
"She's So Unusual" by 2015 SHOF inductee Cyndi Lauper. Lauper's debut solo album included signature covers like "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" with her own indelible compositions, such as "Time After Time," which became her most covered song.
"Soul Man" the iconic 1967 cross-generational hit by Sam Moore and Dave Prater, and written by SHOF inductees Isaac Hayes, David Porter with the indelible guitar work of SHOF 2005 inductee Steve Cropper, became one of Stax Record's most enduring hits, rising to the top of both the pop and R&B charts.
Superfly, the 1972 soundtrack album release by Curtis Mayfield, inducted into SHOF in 2000, went to #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. It was one of the first soul music "concept albums" and is widely considered one of the most important pop records of the 1970s.
"September" the 1978 single by Earth, Wind & Fire, co-written by SHOF inductees Al McKay, Maurice White (both in 2010), and Allee Willis (2018). The recording embodied pioneering multi-track techniques that were widely copied and quickly became a standard recording protocol.
"Hair" the boundary-breaking 1968 cast album from the eponymous Broadway musical was co-written by SHOF 2009 inductees Galt McDermott, James Rado, and Gerome Ragni. It went on to become # 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, win a Grammy in 1969 and essentially define a new genre, the Rock Musical.
"Memphis Blues", released in 1914 in a recording of the Victor Military Band, written by W.C. Handy, who was inducted into the Hall in its inaugural class in 1970.
SHOF President & CEO Linda Moran said: "This year's National Recording Register class honors Songwriters Hall of Fame songwriters, composers and artists whose careers span a full century. It is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary contributions of these men and women to America's musical heritage. It is also a vivid demonstration of the awesome musical diversity represented by SHOF's honor role of inductees, including many ground-breaking and genre-defining contemporary standards."
Moran serves as a member of the federally-chartered National Recording Preservation Board, which assists the Librarian in selecting the recordings each year.
Librarian of Congress Hayden added "The National Recording Registry honors the music that enriches our souls, the voices that tell our stories and the sounds that mirror our lives. The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially. The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future."
The Registry was established in 2002. The recordings selected for the class of 2018 bring the total number of titles on the registry to over 500, a small part of the Library's vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items. Each year, the National Recording Preservation Board recommends works to be added to the collection, and the Librarian of Congress makes a final selection of about 25 works annually. The Board also advises on significant strategies in preservation of rare and endangered recordings, in collaboration with the nation's leading academic institutions.
The full list of this year's Registry selections is available in the official Library of Congress media release at loc.gov.
More information on the Registry and the Library's important work in audio preservation is available on the Library's special website at: www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/about-this-program/