Tony Bennett, Kenny Rogers, Fleetwood Mac, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, The Temptations, Groucho Marx and Run-DMC are just a few of the artists whose work has now been marked for preservation by the Library of Congress.
On March 21, 2018, the Library named 25 audio recordings to be inducted to its National Recording Registry, a compendium of sound recordings to be preserved as representative of America's artistic, cultural and historic treasures. Ranging from rock, pop, jazz, classical and gospel to musical theatre, film soundtracks, radio broadcasts and comedy albums, the recordings have been recognized as vital to our nation's audio legacy, and are now required to be preserved for future generations.
Click through this gallery to listen to audio samples from each of this year's inductees, presented in alphabetical order.
With this year's additions, the Registry now numbers 500 historic recordings - just a small part of the Library's collection of recorded sound numbering nearly three million items.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said, "This annual celebration of recorded sound reminds us of our varied and remarkable American experience. 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."
"Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (1967)
Based on true events - a fated trip to a city dump in Stockbridge, Mass., on Thanksgiving Day, that resulted in a detour to jail - Arlo Guthrie's humorous monologue/folk song "Alice's Restaurant," about Good Samaritanism running afoul of the law, and of the draft, has regaled generations.
The "massacree" (a humorous telling of an improbable story) was a whopping 18 minutes long - too long for Top 40 radio airplay, but not for adventurous FM stations that made it a favorite.
Since its debut, the song has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition, and not just in the Berkshires. And while the tale inspired a 1969 movie starring Guthrie, the song has also undergone revisions over the years, as Guthrie changed lyrics during concert appearances to accommodate the politics of the day.
Play excerpt from "Alice's Restaurant"
Daylight come and me wanna go home
Born in New York City to immigrant parents from the Caribbean, Belafonte told "Sunday Morning" in 2012 that his family was so poor that his mother sent him and his brother to live for years in her native Jamaica - a time when he absorbed the music of the Caribbean. He later returned and joined the Navy, and after the war worked as a janitor in Harlem. He received a gift of two tickets to the theater, a trip that would mark an epiphany for him: "Something so inordinately powerful just sucked me in."
He began taking acting classes, paid for by his singing, which he did at New York City haunts like the Village Vanguard, where he sang folk songs from Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti and elsewhere. The success of his third album, "Calypso," surprised him. "I didn't quite understand what had happened," he said. "'Cause it was not slated to go anywhere other than to satisfy a tenacious appetite I had for wanting to do that album."
It became the first LP to sell a million copies.
Play excerpt from "Banana Boat," from the album "Calypso"
The Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas (1932-1935)
A virtuoso of the classical repertoire, including music of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt and Mozart, the Czech-Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) was the first to record the complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, for HMV, during the years 1932-1935.
In 1985 The New York Times declared the Schnabel set "the standard by which all subsequent performances have been judged ... prized for their intelligence and inner repose rather than for technical command (there was no tape splicing in those days, and the master hit his share of clinkers)." And the U.K. magazine Gramophone lauded the performer's (and the composer's) "astonishing physical and imaginative daring."
Play excerpt from Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 10 in G, Op. 14. No. 2: Allegro
"Dream Melody Intermezzo: Naughty Marietta" (1911)
"Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" would become a breakout hit from the Victor Herbert operetta "Naughty Marietta."
In this 1911 Edison cylinder recording, Herbert conducts a rendition of the song, heard here as a transitional accompaniment in Act II.
The Library of Congress has the world's largest collection of wax and celluloid cylinder recordings - about 50,000.
Play an excerpt from "Dream Melody Intermezzo: Naughty Marietta"
"An Evening With Groucho" (1972)
By the late 1960s and early '70s, the Marx Brothers had experienced a revival, through repertory theatres and TV screenings of their classics, and via reruns of Groucho Marx's '50s game show, "You Bet Your Life."
On May 6, 1972, Groucho, then 81 years young, performed at New York City's Carnegie Hall, mixing jokes and outrageous tales with some of his most memorable songs, including "Hello, I Must Be Going," and "Lydia the Tattooed Lady."
The two-disc LP of that concert also preserved the musical accompaniment by pianist Marvin Hamlisch, and an introduction by talk show host and ardent Groucho fan Dick Cavett. It would be the final one-man show by the comedian, who passed away in 1977.
Play an excerpt from "Lydia the Tattooed Lady"
"Folk Songs of the Hills" (1947)
Country-western singer and guitarist Merle Travis, who also performed with gospel groups and at folk festivals, was a popular radio artist who mined his native Kentucky for songs that spoke of legends and hard-scrapple lives.
His collection "Folk Songs of the Hills," released on 78 rpm discs, featured such compositions as "Sixteen Tons," "Dark As a Dungeon," "John Henry" and "Nine Pound Hammer." Later reissues of the album expanded the track listings, including Travis' recordings of "Barbara Allen," "This World Is Not My Home," and "Possum Up a Simmon Tree."
It would be one of Travis' most critically-acclaimed albums, and a resource to be mined by other artists, including Tennessee Ernie Ford (who would cover "Sixteen Tons" in 1955).
Play excerpt from "Dark As a Dungeon," from "Folk Songs of the Hills"
One of the '80s biggest hits, the title song from the film "Footloose" (starring Kevin Bacon as a rebellious big-city teen who teaches some small town folk how to dance) is a spunky tune that can't fail to get toes tapping.
Written by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford, the film's screenwriter, it topped the U.S. Billboard chart (it was Loggins' first, and only, No. 1 hit), and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
It would later be covered by Blake Shelton for the 2011 remake.
Play an excerpt from "Footloose"
"The Gambler" (1978)
In 1999 Kenny Rogers told "CBS This Morning" that "The Gambler" was the kind of song he did best, describing it as "more of a story than a song."
Written by Don Schlitz, a night shift computer operator who tried for years to peddle his music in Nashville, the song was first recorded by Bobby Bare in 1978, and then by Johnny Cash. But it was Rogers' 1978 recording that hit #1 on the Country chart, and would win a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
It became Rogers' signature song - not the least for his beautifully dramatized evocation of a wizened old gambler whose life lessons sound to have come the hard way. The song would inspire four TV movies, in which Rogers starred.
Play an excerpt from "The Gambler"
"How I Got Over" (1950)
Gospel singer Clara Ward founded the Ward Singers, who made dozens of recordings from the late 1940s to the mid-'70s.
An inspiration to singers Marion Williams and Aretha Franklin, Ward's alto was a powerful instrument, as heard in this 1950 recording of her gospel hit, "How I Got Over," composed by Ward.
The song would later be covered by Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Play an excerpt from "How I Got Over"
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" (1962)
Bing Crosby had "White Christmas"; Mick Jagger has "Satisfaction" - songs that would be blasphemous to hear performed by anyone else.
Tony Bennett likewise will be forever linked to his signature tune, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," despite his New York City roots, and the song's ignominious launch - released as the B-side of "Once Upon a Time." But "San Francisco" proved more enticing to radio DJs, and a hit was soon born.
The recording won the Record of the Year Grammy, and earned Bennett a Grammy for Best Male Solo Vocal Performance. And he's never stopped performing it (nor should he).
Play an excerpt from "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
"If I Didn't Care" (1939)
If I didn't care more than words can say
If I didn't care, would I feel this way?
If this isn't love, then why do I thrill?
And what makes my head go 'round and 'round
While my heart stands still?
For setting a mood, few songs do it so smoothly as The Inkspots' "If I Didn't Care." The song would become one of the biggest hits in history, selling 19 million copies, while smoothly creating nostalgia as the background of numerous films and TV shows.
Play an excerpt from "If I Didn't Care"
"King Biscuit Time" (1965)
Debuting in 1941 on station KFFA in Helena, Ark., and still being broadcast today, "King Biscuit Time" is the longest-running daily radio program in history.
For most of that time the blues program was hosted by Sunshine Sonny Payne, who died February 8, 2018 at age 92.
One regular performer on the series was harmonicist Sonny Boy Williamson II, who was a guest numerous times over the years. His last appearance on the show was in 1965 - the only surviving broadcast featuring Williamson, who died shortly after.
Hear an excerpt of Sonny Boy Williamson II on "King Biscuit Time"
"Le Freak" (1978)
Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards were the propulsive blood of the R&B/funk/disco group Chic, which produced such hits as "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Everybody Dance," and "Good Times."
But it was their 1978 hit "Le Freak," from their second album "C'est Chic," that propelled them into the stratosphere.
The song, featuring vocalists Alfa Anderson and Diva Gray, hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100, driving the album to top the R&B chart and go platinum.
Play an excerpt from "Le Freak"
"Lamento Borincano" (1930)
A familiar folk song in Puerto Rico, written about the tragedies facing farmers during the Great Depression, "Lamento Borincano" was introduced by Canario y Su Grupo, led by Manuel Jiménez.
The song would later be recorded by such artists as Placido Domingo, José Feliciano and Marc Anthony.
Play an excerpt from "Lamento Borincano"
"My Girl" (1964)
David Ruffin's tenor had memorably soared in the Drifters' 1964 hit "Under the Boardwalk." After Ruffin then replaced Elbridge Bryant in the R&B group The Temptations, his first lead vocal was on "My Girl."
Written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, "My Girl" featured striking background vocals from Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, and Paul and Otis Williams, and guitar playing by Robert White of the Funk Brothers.
A No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart soon followed.
Play an excerpt from "My Girl"
"New Sounds in Electronic Music" (1967)
In 1967 CBS' Odyssey label introduced its "Music of Our Time" series (composition by iconoclastic 20th century composers) with a recording of three compositions "performed" on tape machines.
It marked the first commercial release of music by minimalist composer Steve Reich, titled "Come Out," a collage of voices edited and played out of sync, creating shifting rhythms.
Play an excerpt from Steve Reich's "Come Out"
Richard Maxfield's "Night Music" uses the un-heard sounds of a tape machine - bias tone - and an oscilloscope as sound sources.
Play an excerpt from Richard Maxfield's "Night Music"
Avant-garde composer and performer Pauline Oliveros improvised the recording of "I of IV," applying tape delays and reverb to 12 tone generators.
Play an excerpt from Pauline Oliveros' "I of IV"
The "Music of Our Time" series would go onto introduce works by John Cage, Elliott Carter, David Del Tredici, Terry Riley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Morton Subotnik, and Totu Takemitsu, among others.
Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (1945)
As the war in Europe was drawing to a close, and Allied forces were driving Japan to the brink of surrender, delegates from around the world attended the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) in San Francisco, to draft a charter as the basis of the United Nations.
Over two months, from April 25 to June 26, 1945, NBC Radio broadcast news documenting the historic summit, including the announcement that Germany had surrendered, and the ceremony at which the U.N. Charter was signed by President Harry Truman and other dignitaries.
The surviving recordings, on 146 lacquer discs, were preserved and digitized by the Hoover Institution Archives and Stanford University.
Play excerpt from Proceedings of the U.N. Conference on International Organization
"Raising Hell" (1986)
What do you get when you cross head-banger metal and hip hop?
In the case of Run-DMC (Darryl McDaniels, Joseph Simmons and Jason Mizell), their take on "Walk This Way" - in collaboration with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry - stayed true to the forms of both.
Energetic guitar riffs, vinyl scratching, a drum machine, and the vocal rhythms of rap made for a song that crossed over to two audiences while also reviving Aerosmith's career. Run-DMC and Aerosmith would share the Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single.
Play excerpt from "Walk This Way," from "Raising Hell"
With more traditional hip-hop filling out the rest of the tracks, "Raising Hell" would be the trio's biggest commercial success, spawning the hits "It's Tricky," "You Be Illin," and "My Adidas."
Play excerpt from "My Adidas," from "Raising Hell"
In 2011 Time magazine called "Raising Hell" "rap's first masterpiece."
"Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" (1987)
"Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," from the album "Let It Loose," is one of the most infectious songs from Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine ... which is really saying something, considering that Estefan has had more than 100 hits on the Billboard charts, sold more than 100 million albums, and won multiple Grammys.
Written by Estefan and Enrique "Kiki" Garcia, the song wasn't an immediate hit when it was first released in June 1987, and then featured in a Hollywood action film. Reissued in December 1988, it finally broke through to the charts, peaking at No. 5 in the U.S.
Play an excerpt from "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"
Broken hearts have certainly spawned their share of sad songs. But one of the most artistically and commercially successful albums of all time was born out of a band's splintering core - jilted lovers who stuck together professionally through sheer will.
In the mid-'70s the English blues band Fleetwood Mac was comprised of Mick Fleetwood and two couples: Brits John McVie and his wife, Christine; and Americans Stevie Nicks and her boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham. But they were coming apart at the seams: The McVies were headed for divorce, and Nicks and Buckingham were breaking up. Fleetwood's marriage was ending as well.
The songs that make up the band's 1977 album, "Rumours," are chock full of anger, spite, betrayal and heartache. McVie wrote "You Make Loving Fun" about her lover, and Nicks wrote "Dreams" as a message to Buckingham:
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know
Play an excerpt from "Dreams," from "Rumours"
"Go Your Own Way" was Buckingham's message back at Nicks:
Loving you isn't the right thing to do ...
If I could, maybe I'd give you my world
How can I, when you won't take it from me ...
Shacking up is all you want to do
Play an excerpt from "Go Your Own Way," from "Rumours"
And the raw emotions didn't settle down once the record was released; Fleetwood and Nicks began an affair while touring for "Rumours," a record that would win the Grammy for Album of the Year and sell more than 45 million copies.
Asked in 2017 on "CBS This Morning" why the band continued to play together, Fleetwood replied, "Corny, but because they get a dose of it. They definitely get a megadose of it, which is challenging, you know, to be able to attain that with this gloriously dysfunctional story, which is us bunch."
"Sitting on Top of the World" (1930)
Guitarist Lonnie Chatmon and violinist Walter Vinson, of the Mississippi Sheiks, composed what would become a standard not just of their group's style of blues, but also bluegrass, rock and folk - a song to be covered by everyone from Ray Charles, Howlin' Wolf, the Grateful Dead and Cream to Bob Dylan, Jack White and Willie Nelson.
In 2008 Chatmon and Vinson's recording of "Sitting on Top of the World" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Play an excerpt from "Sitting on Top of the World"
"The Sound of Music" (film soundtrack) (1965)
Beloved by moviegoers, the 1965 musical "The Sound of Music" had much going for it, including sparkling performances by a cast led by Julie Andrews, gorgeous Alpine scenery, and Christopher Plummer shredding a Nazi flag.
But it was the timeless music of the Tony-winning Broadway show written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, including the song "My Favorite Things," that has captivated audiences the world over.
In November 1965 the album hit #1 on the Billboard chart, spent 109 weeks in the Top 10, and was so successful that in 2015 Billboard ranked it at No. 2 on its all-time list.
Play an excerpt from "My Favorite Things"
For the film version, new songs (by Rodgers, Saul Chaplin and Ernest Lehman) were added to the mix. The music - arranged and conducted by Irwin Kostal - dances and soars off the soundtrack, nowhere more boisterously than in the closing rendition of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."
Play an excerpt from "Climb Ev'ry Mountain (Reprise)"
Standing Rock Preservation Recordings (1928)
George Herzog, an ethnomusicologist and linguist, traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas to record the traditional music of the Sioux's Yanktonai-Dakota band.
His collection of nearly 200 wax cylinder recordings is a rare document of indigenous music before and after Native Americans were moved to reservations.
Below: "Song for the Kaxómini Dance," sung by Edward Afraid of Hawk. This song was a new song for the Yanktonai at that time, coming from the Crow, and was very popular.
Play an excerpt from "Song for the Kaxómini Dance"
"(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" (1954)
"(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" didn't get much play when it was initially released in May 1954. But it became a hit when it turned up in the soundtrack of the dramatic film about juvenile delinquents, "The Blackboard Jungle."
Soon after, Bill Haley and His Comets - now-hitmakers - would play themselves in the musical, "Rock Around the Clock."
Hollywood didn't tire of the song; it was used in countless TV shows and films, including George Lucas' "American Graffiti," "Bull Durham," and "Superman," and for a time it was the theme song of the popular sitcom, "Happy Days."
Play an excerpt from (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock"
"Yo-Yo Ma Premieres Concertos for Violoncello and Orchestra" (1996)
Three cello concertos, commissioned for master cellist Yo-Yo Ma, by contemporary American composers - Richard Danielpour, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Christopher Rouse and Leon Kirchner - are given stirring performances in premiere recordings.
The album won two Grammy Awards (Best Classical Album and Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with an Orchestra).
Play an excerpt from Danielpour's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra: "Profanation"
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
For more info:
- You can nominate recordings for the National Recording Registry here
- View the full list of titles on the National Recording Registry
You can also sample previous years' additions here:
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (03/29/17)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (03/23/16)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (03/25/15)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (04/02/14)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (03/21/13)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (05/23/12)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (04/06/11)
- Gallery: Additions to National Recording Registry (06/12/09)