Quick quiz: What do Judy Garland's rendition of "Over the Rainbow," N.W.A's seminal Straight Outta Compton and the inaugural episode of NPR's All Things Considered have in common?
That little riddle just got a little easier to answer on Wednesday: The Library of Congress announced that all three "aural treasures" — along with roughly two dozen other recordings — have been inducted into its National Recording Registry.
"These sounds of the past enrich our understanding of the nation's cultural history and our history in general," Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. The release also notes that these titles have been inducted for "their cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation's audio heritage."
Below, take a listen to a piece from the debut of All Things Considered, which focused on May Day protests against the Vietnam War on May 3, 1971, roughly one month after NPR itself got its start.
"It is such an honor and a privilege to be brought into this distinguished company," said Susan Stamberg, who has been with NPR since the very start, and had a 14-year run as host of All Things Considered, beginning in 1972.
"For the sounds that we made on the first day to be right up there with Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech or Neil Armstrong's first words spoken by a human being on the moon — that's very lofty company for us."
Now, with the first All Things Considered — plus other 2016 inductees such as Barbra Streisand's 1964 debut, "People," and the Brooklyn Dodgers' and New York Giants' last game at the Polo Grounds — the total number of works on the National Recording Registry comes to 475.
To see more about the induction, and what NPR eminences have to say about it, head right here.
- The 1888 London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)
- "Lift Every Voice and Sing," by Manhattan Harmony Four (1923) and Melba Moore and Friends (1990)
- "Puttin' on the Ritz," by Harry Richman (1929)
- "Over the Rainbow," Judy Garland (1939)
- "I'll Fly Away,," The Chuck Wagon Gang (1948)
- "Hound Dog," Big Mama Thornton (1953)
- "Saxophone Colossus," Sonny Rollins (1956)
- The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, announced by Vin Scully (September 8, 1957)
- Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Marty Robbins (1959)
- The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, Wes Montgomery (1960)
- "People," Barbra Streisand (1964)
- "In the Midnight Hour," Wilson Pickett (1965)
- "Amazing Grace," Judy Collins (1970)
- "American Pie," Don McLean (1971)
- All Things Considered, first broadcast (May 3, 1971)
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie (1972)
- The Wiz, original cast album (1975)
- Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), Eagles (1976)
- Scott Joplin's Treemonisha, Gunter Schuller, arr. (1976)
- Wanted: Live in Concert, Richard Pryor (1978)
- "We Are Family," Sister Sledge (1979)
- Remain in Light, Talking Heads (1980)
- Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A (1988)
- Rachmaninoff's Vespers (All-Night Vigil), Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
- Signatures, Renée Fleming (1997)
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