More Than Just Text: Library of Congress Adds Classic Songs

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The library is in the business of preserving anything culturally significant – and fortunately, these tunes are far more important than our daily tweets.

Last week, America’s national library announced its 25 aural selections that will become part of its collection. The highly eclectic mix is comprised of recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” to America’s history. The latest selections, from songs to mere sounds, bring the library’s collection to 325 recordings that will be preserved in perpetuity.

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a more iconic American moment than our national pastime – and its famed seventh-inning stretch. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was added to the library as part of the National Recording Registry, guaranteeing that it will forever be acceptable to belt out the tune between innings – though we wonder now, given its immortal preservation, if singing off-key is a breach of American tradition.

The baseball favorite was just one of a range of inductees, which stretched from avant-garde (Captain Beefheart) to animal sounds (“Songs of the Humpback Whale”). Steely Dan and Duke Ellington were some of the most famous names to receive a nod in this year’s selection. “Audio recordings have documented our lives and allowed us to share artistic expressions and entertainment,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement.

The newest selections were determined based on public recommendations. The Washington Post has the full list of additions. We wonder if future generations will find Justin Bieber’s music “culturally significant” enough for induction.

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