National Recording Registry 2009

Patti Smith - HorsesThe Library of Congress has announced its 25 new additions to the National Recording Registry.

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 selecting 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2009 registry bring the total number of recordings to 300.

Lots of notable additions this year, including ten with distinct rock and roll connections:

• “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard (1955)

• “Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf (1956)

Today!, Mississippi John Hurt (1966)

Soul Folk in Action, The Staple Singers (1968)

The Band, The Band (1969)

• “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn (1970)

Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson (1975)

Horses, Patti Smith (1975)

• “Radio Free Europe” (Hib-Tone single), R.E.M. (1981)

• “Dear Mama,” Tupac Shakur (1995)

You could make a pretty nice mix out of those selections… If you were to dip into the full list, you could make an amazing comp. (Hmmm, that gives me an idea for a “21 Best” list. Stay tuned…)

2009 National Recording Registry (Listing in Chronological Order)

1.”Fon der Choope” (From the Wedding), Abe Elenkrig’s Yidishe Orchestra (1913)

2.”Canal Street Blues,” King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (1923)

3.”Tristan und Isolde,” Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, NBC Broadcast of March 9, 1935

4.”When You Wish Upon a Star,” Cliff Edwards (recorded, 1938; released, 1940)

5.”America’s Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to England?” (May 8, 1941)

6.The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second Battle of Guam (July 20 – August 11, 1944)

7.”Evangeline Special” and “Love Bridge Waltz,” Iry LeJeune (1948)

8.”The Little Engine That Could,” narrated by Paul Wing (1949)

9.Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State (1950-1954)

10.”Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard (1955)

11.”Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf (1956)

12.”Gypsy,” original cast recording (1959)

13.The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)

14.”Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two),” Max Mathews (1961)

15.”I Started Out As a Child,” Bill Cosby (1964)

16.”Azucar Pa Ti,” Eddie Palmieri (1965)

17.”Today!,” Mississippi John Hurt (1966)

18.”Silver Apples of the Moon,” Morton Subotnick (1967)

19.”Soul Folk in Action,” The Staple Singers (1968)

20.”The Band,” The Band (1969)

21.”Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn (1970)

22.”Red Headed Stranger,” Willie Nelson (1975)

23.”Horses,” Patti Smith (1975)

24.”Radio Free Europe” R.E.M. (1981)

25.”Dear Mama,” Tupac Shakur (1995)

Press release.

Previously: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.

10 thoughts on “National Recording Registry 2009”

  1. To which record do you refer? Her art/punk debut, her kamikaze assault on the mainstream via Radio Ethiopia or her cleaned up reinvention of herself on Easter? Of course you mean the first album – most people do, but I would suggest Horses was not her only work of artistic merit. Even her post Sonic work has more than a few bright spots.

  2. Now now, Bob. The Sex Pistols got WAY more mileage out of one half-decent record than Patti Smith ever did.

    I’m no Patti fan, but I will acknowledge R.E.M’s influence on subsequent generations, and Stipe is a huge fan of Patti’s, so props for that. Though to be fair, aside from “Horses” I’d be hard pressed to hum something else she’s done.

  3. Good point, GTSM. However, isn’t Bollocks more than a mere half-decent album? If so, I gotta side w/Bob on this one.

  4. Whether it’s good or not isn’t the point: Bollocks is the straw that broke the existing rock ‘n’ roll camel’s back and put it out of its misery.

  5. Bollocks is a far greater record than anything/everything Patti did. I think I missed the part where it put any rock establishment out of it’s misery though. The mainstream payed little attention to the Pistols and went on buying a billion Fleetwood Mac lp’s. It’s merely a great garage rock/teenage punk record in a long line of them. Nothing really that revolutionary about it in the long run. As far as the Michael Stipe arguement…yet another valid reason to despise Patti Smith. There should be a special “insufferably pretentious ass-wipe” wing of the R&R Hall of Fame. They could be the charter members.

  6. Sure, the mainstream was always there, and always will be, but Bollocks (which I think IS a good record, btw) gave a name and a face an a voice and an attitude – a focal point, really – for those who didn’t even know there was anything else BUT the mainstream. That in itself laid the seeds for the end of rock as a supposedly united front against all things square and unhip – the megastars were pointed out for what they really were – successful business men and women marketing rebellion to the masses.

    Patti’s problem is that an artist by nature has to question oneself – by assuming that mantle, she was unable to do what a rock star could: ignore everything that didn’t support the insulated bubble which is a rock star’s existence. The Pistols, being antiartists as well as antistars, were in different circumstances, and managed to turn out an album of rock ‘n’ roll songs which had a 50/50 chance of being a masterpiece or simply a piece of crap. As far as I can tell, the jury’s still deciding on both Horses as well as Bollocks’ places in the history books.

  7. successful business men and women marketing rebellion to the masses

    Whereas the punks were unsuccessful business men and women marketing rebellion to the masses…

  8. In retrospect I may have overemphasized my dislike for Patti Smith. I don’t despise her truly, but I just think she’s kind of phony. I’ve heard enough firsthand stories from people who know or have dealt with her to really confirm that belief. She made some halfway decent records. She just hasn’t done enough to earn the hall of fame level of respect she has received to me. Lenny Kaye deserves half the credit for her slim body of work, and Fred Smith deserves half the credit for her street cred. The real problem is Rolling Stone and Jann Wenner types who’ve anointed her. The R&RHOF is a joke of course, but still…

  9. “Whereas the punks were unsuccessful business men and women marketing rebellion to the masses…”

    Absolutely. But because they knew that already, there was a chance they could be more genuine – for a while, anyway.

    RNRHOF a joke? Also in agreement here, although I don’t know if it qualifies as a true joke, since it apparently has neither any wit nor even a punch line, if it ever did at all.

Leave a Reply