On behalf of The Library of Congress, Don Schlitz and Nile Rodgers were presented with their Library of Congress/National Recording Registry certificates for “The Gambler” and CHIC's "Le Freak” at the March SHOF Board meeting by SHOF President & CEO/LOC Board member Linda Moran and fellow SHOF and LOC Board members Mike O’Neill, Charlie Feldman, Beth Matthews, Paul Williams and Robbin Ahrold.
Recordings are Inducted into National Recording Registry as “culturally, artistically and historically significant”
“The Gambler,” written by SHOF inductee and Board member Don Schlitz and performed by Kenny Rogers, and CHIC’s “Le Freak,” written and performed by SHOF inductee and Chairman Nile Rodgers top the list of 13 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees and honorees 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 were announced today by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and will become part of an elite group of recordings destined for special preservation and scholarship attention due to their “cultural, artistic and historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage.”
This years list includes 25 recordings, ranging from a 1911 Edison recording by SHOF inductee Victor Herbert to a 1996 classical work by Yo Yo Ma.
Of the 18 non-classical musical recordings, 13 were written by SHOF inductees and honorees. They include:
Kenny Rogers’ massive 1978 country crossover hit “The Gambler,” written by SHOF 2012 Inductee and SHOF Board member Don Schlitz. Schlitz went on to become one of Nashville’s most admired and respected songwriters, penning dozens of hits over 30 years, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Nile Rodgers’ 1978 recording of “Le Freak” with his ensemble CHIC, a multi-chart hit which propelled his disco era sound to international success. Rodgers was inducted into SHOF in 2016.
Gloria Estefan’s 1987 recording “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” co-written by Enrique “Kike” Garcia, which became a breakout hit for Miami Sound Machine. Estefan was honored with SHOF’s Howie Richmond Lifetime Achievement Award by SHOF in 1996.
Run DMC’s album “Raising Hell” contains the iconic collaboration “Walk This Way” with SHOF inductees Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, which helped propel the album to the top of the charts and introduce hip-hop to mainstream audiences.
“The Sound of Music” soundtrack album, released in 1965, with words and music by SHOF inductees Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
The Temptations “My Girl” written and performed by SHOF Inductee and 2005 Johnny Mercer Award winner Smokey Robinson and published by 2017 SHOF inductee Berry Gordy.
Tony Bennett’s timeless “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (1962), which became a hallmark in his career and his signature tune, written by George Cory and Douglass Cross. The ballad was named SHOF’s Towering Song in 2003, when Bennett was also honored with the Towering Performance Award for the work. Bennett had previously been honored with SHOF’s Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 1981.
Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album “Calypso” which contained the memorable hit “Day-O” written by SHOF inductee and long-time SHOF Board member Irving Burgie. Burgie contributed many other songs to the album, which became Belafonte’s breakout album.
“If I Didn’t Care” (1939) written by SHOF Inductee Jack Lawrence and performed by the Ink Spots, became one of the best-selling singles in history, moving 19 million copies worldwide in an era before vinyl.
Victor Herbert’s 1911 “Dream Melody Intermezzo” from the operetta “Naughty Marietta”, a version of the immortal song “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.” The work survives as an Edison cylinder recording.
SHOF President and CEO Linda Moran, said: “We are pleased to see, once again this year, the recognition accorded by the Library of Congress for the work of so many SHOF inductees. The diversity of the SHOF-honored writer’s works, spanning multiple musical genres and three quarters of a century, from 1911 to 1987, demonstrates the rare gift of America’s songwriters to our national culture. “
Librarian of Congress Hayden added “This annual celebration of recorded sound reminds us of our varied and remarkable American experience,” Hayden said. “The unique trinity of historic, cultural and aesthetic significance reflected in the National Recording Registry each year is an opportunity for reflection on landmark moments, diverse cultures and shared memories—all reflected in our recorded soundscape.”
Moran noted “dozens upon dozens of SHOF inductees have created works that have been added to this special National Recording Registry by the Library over the years. It is a remarkable and most-deserved synchronicity in recognition of great musical works by great songwriters and lyricists over the decades.”
Moran serves as a member of the federally-chartered National Recording Preservation Board, which assists the Librarian in selecting the recordings each year.
The Registry was established in 2002. The recordings selected for the class of 2017 bring the total number of titles on the registry to 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/