WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 29, 2017) – Today, the Library of Congress added Don McLean’s monumental 1971 hit “American Pie” to their National Recording Registry of 2016. “American Pie” joins Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow,” N.W.A.’s seminal album, Straight Outta Compton and the Eagles’ 1976 Their Greatest Hits as aural treasures worthy of preservation as part of America’s patrimony.
"I have been proud to be an American artist who has represented his country around the world for almost 50 years,” states McLean. “I hope I did a good job because I was always aware of the country I came from. America has a vast musical heritage which is diverse and profound. With few exceptions American music is the whole of popular music. We have done it all. Written the greatest songs and produced the greatest artists. I am so proud to be a part of this creative effort."
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named these recordings and 20 other titles to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage.
“This year’s exciting list gives us a full range of sound experiences,” said Hayden. “These sounds of the past enrich our understanding of the nation’s cultural history and our history in general.”
Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. More information on the National Recording Registry can be found at www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/about-this-program/.
The recordings selected for the 2016 registry bring the total number of titles on the registry to 475, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.
Nominations were gathered through online submissions from the public and from the NRPB, which is comprised of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. The Library is currently accepting nominations for the next registry at www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/recording-registry/nominate/.
Some registry titles have already been preserved by the copyright holders, the artists or other archives. In cases where a selected title has not already been preserved, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the sound recording will be preserved by some entity and available to future generations, either through the Library’s recorded-sound preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, recording studios and independent producers.
The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/). It is home to more than 7 million collection items.
The Library’s National and International Outreach service unit (NIO) National Programs Directorate manages and provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board and the National Registries for film and recorded sound. This constitutes part of NIO’s broader mission to administer the public-facing programs and activities of the Library of Congress with the mission of “broadening awareness and use of the Library and its resources through outreach and external partnerships.”
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at www.copyright.gov.
2016 National Recording Registry (Listing Titles in Chronological Order)
1. The 1888 London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)
2. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (singles), Manhattan Harmony Four (1923); Melba Moore and Friends (1990)
3. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (single), Harry Richman (1929)
4. “Over the Rainbow” (single), Judy Garland (1939)
5. “I’ll Fly Away” (single), The Chuck Wagon Gang(1948)
6. “Hound Dog” (single), Big Mama Thornton (1953)
7. “Saxophone Colossus,” Sonny Rollins(1956)
8. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, announced by Vin Scully (September 8, 1957)
9. “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs,” Marty Robbins(1959)
10. “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery,” Wes Montgomery (1960)
11. “People” (single), Barbra Streisand (1964)
12. “In the Midnight Hour” (single), Wilson Pickett(1965)
13. “Amazing Grace” (single), Judy Collins (1970)
14. “American Pie” (single), Don McLean (1971)
15. “All Things Considered,” first broadcast (May 3, 1971)
16. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” David Bowie (1972)
17. “The Wiz,” original cast album (1975)
18. “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975),” Eagles (1976)
19. “Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha,” Gunter Schuller, arr. (1976)
20. “Wanted: Live in Concert,” Richard Pryor (1978)
21. “We Are Family” (single), Sister Sledge (1979)
22. “Remain in Light,” Talking Heads (1980)
23. “Straight Outta Compton,” N.W.A. (1988)
24. “Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil),” Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
25. “Signatures,” Renée Fleming (1997)