Works by Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees and honorees once again led the elite list of recordings selected by the Library of Congress for what has been called “America’s Playlist,” an exclusive catalog 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." Known formally as the National Recording Registry, the new selections for the list were announced this week by Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden.
The recordings selected for the National Recording Registry bring the number of titles on the Registry to 600. “The National Recording Registry reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation’s history and culture through recorded sound,” Hayden said.
Heading this year’s list are international mega-hit Livin’ La Vida Loca, written and produced by 2008 SHOF Inductee and SHOF Board member Desmond Child; multi-platinum debut album Songs in A Minor by Hal David Starlight Honoree Alicia Keys; Queen’s indelible 1975 world-wide smash Bohemian Rhapsody by SHOF inductee Freddie Mercury; and two songs that virtually define the American Songbook: Moon River by 1971 SHOF Inductee and Founding President Johnny Mercer and 1984 inductee Henry Mancini, and The Christmas Song by SHOF Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award winner Nat King Cole, which was named SHOF’s 1988 Towering Song.
Nine albums and singles featuring the work of 17 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees and honorees were included in this years’ list of recordings. In chronological order they are:
Ellington at Newport (album) — Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 1956. Ellington was a 1971 SHOF inductee. The album captured a live performance at Newport that became legendary and featured the fourteen-minute Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue, which caused a sensation not only among the crowd but also among the press.
The Christmas Song – voted a SHOF Towering Song in 1988, by 1998 SHOF Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award winner Nat King Cole, and written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. The Nat King Cole Trio’s legendary 1961 stereo recording has become one of the most beloved and enduring Christmas classics of all time.
Tonight’s The Night (album) — the breakout 1961 album by the Shirelles featuring “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” the Billboard #1 hit written by 1987 SHOF inductees Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The song is notable for being the first song by a black all-girl group to reach number one in the United States.
Moon River – 2009 SHOF Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award honoree Andy William’s timeless ballad written by 1971 SHOF Inductee and Founding President Johnny Mercer and 1984 inductee Henry Mancini. It was named the SHOF’s 2009 Towering Song, and Williams was honored that same year as with the Towering Performance Award. The song won the Academy Award as Best Original Song in 1962 as the signature song from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
It’s A Small World – written in 1963 by 2005 SHOF inductees Robert and Richard Sherman for Walt Disney and first featured at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York as "a salute to the children of the world.” It later became a favorite destination at Disney theme parks around the word, and one of the most endearing earworms of all time.
Reach Out, I’ll Be There – written by Motown legends and 1988 SHOF inductees Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier and recorded by the Four Tops in 1966, it quickly went to number 1 on both the US Pop and R&B charts and became the Four Tops’ signature song.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen’s indelible 1975 hit from their album A Night at the Opera. Written by 2003 SHOF inductee Freddie Mercury and featuring co-inductees Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Brian May. The album, released in October 1975 sold more than 1 million copies by January 1976, and has gone on to be certified Diamon in the US by the RIAA and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.
Livin’ La Vida Loca – the 1999 breakout hit for Ricky Martin was written by 2008 SHOF inductee Desmond Child and 2018 Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Draco Rosa. Child, who is a long-serving member of the SHOF Board of Directors and a founder of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame also produced the award-winning track. The song went to number 1 in more than 20 countries and has been certified multi-platinum by the RIAA. It became the ASCAP Song of the YEAR (Child) and BMI Latin Song of the Year (Rosa), the MTV Video of the Year, and was Record of the Year at the Latin Grammys.
Songs in A Minor – The smash debut album by 2005 SHOF Hal David Starlight Award honoree Alicia Keys, released in 2001, it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, spawned the #1 hit “Fallin” and went on to sell more than 12 million copies worldwide, a true international hit. Keys wrote, arranged and produced the majority of the album, for which she won five Grammys at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.
SHOF President and CEO Linda Moran said: "This year's National Recording Registry class honors Songwriters Hall of Fame songwriters and honorees whose work became some of the most acclaimed worldwide hits of all time, signature works of the R&B, Latin and jazz repertoires, and treasured standards of the American Songbook. We are pleased, but not surprised, to see the continuing synchronicity in the lists of works and writers honored by both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress, works that have truly stood the test of time, thrilling and delighting generations of listeners.”
Moran serves as a member of the federally-chartered National Recording Preservation Board, which assists the Librarian in selecting the recordings each year. SHOF President's Advisory Council member Robbin Ahrold has chaired the National Recording Preservation Board for the past four years. The current SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers has been twice honored as his works We Are Family recorded by Sister Sledge, was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2016, and Chic's inescapable disco hit Le Freak, inducted in 2017.
The Registry was established in 2002. 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.
NPR’s “1A” will host several features in the series, “The Sounds of America,” on this year’s selections for the National Recording Registry, including interviews with Hayden and several featured artists in the weeks ahead. Follow the conversation about the registry on Twitter and Instagram @librarycongress and #NatRecRegistry.
You can listen to many of the recordings on your favorite streaming service. The Digital Media Association, a member of the National Recording Preservation Board, has compiled a list of some streaming services with National Recording Registry playlists at dima.org/national-recording-registry-2022-inductees/.
Library of Congress announcement: https://newsroom.loc.gov/news/national-recording-registry-inducts-music-from-alicia-keys--ricky-martin--journey-and-more-in-2022/s/fee30140-0454-401c-a2a2-205298e32fb1