Every year, the Library of Congress selects 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” pieces of music that have been around more than a decade to archive in its collection. Albums like Radiohead’s OK Computer, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon were already part of the collection. Now, this year’s choices have been revealed, and several more iconic records are set to be archived.
The most contemporary work to make the cut is JAY-Z’s classic 2001 album The Blueprint. Widely considered his mangum opus, the rapper’s sixth studio album is credited for reviving sample-reliant productions in hip-hop, and helped launch the career of Kanye West (who produced several tracks on the record.) Despite its release coinciding with the September 11 attacks, The Blueprint managed to sell over 427,000 copies in its opening week, and would eventually go double platinum.
Albums like Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 debut, She’s So Unusual, and Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly soundtrack will join The Blueprint in the registry. Other noteworthy additions include songs like Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba”; Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam”; Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”; and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”.
The list also includes a variety of audio material, such as an episode of the 1950s radio drama Gunsmoke called “Tha Cabin”, a 1996 Schoolhouse Rock! box set, and Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 speech on the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which he made just two months before he himself was assassinated. A collection of Yiddish songs recorded between 1901 and 1905, the earliest-known musical recordings of the Jewish language, will also be archived.
Find the full list of newly archived works below, and take a look at the Library of Congress’ full registry here.
Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)
“Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)
Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)
“Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)
Bach Six Cello Suites, Pablo Casals (c. 1939)
“They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)
Gunsmoke — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)
Ruth Draper: Complete Recorded Monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)
“La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)
“Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)
Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years, Stan Freberg (1961)
GO, Dexter Gordon (1962)
War Requiem, Benjamin Britten (1963)
“Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)
“Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)
Hair (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)
Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)
“Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)
Superfly, Curtis Mayfield (1972)
Ola Belle Reed, Ola Belle Reed (1973)
“September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)
She’s So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper (1983)
Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set (1996)
The Blueprint, Jay-Z (2001)