Bermuda whale sounds among US cultural treasures Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 May 2008 00:00

Jackson's 'Thriller' and space record with Bermuda whale sounds among US cultural treasures

By Kevin S. Vineys , Royal Gazette, 15 May 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — The best-selling pop album on planet Earth and a disc sent hurtling into deep space are among recordings the Library of Congress will preserve for their cultural significance.


Twenty-five selections were added to the National Recording Registry yesterday, part of the library's attempt to save America's aural history by archiving recordings deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."


The inductees range from Michael Jackson's 1982 all-time-bestseller "Thriller" and jazz artist Herbie Hancock's 1973 fusion smash "Headhunters" to the 1977 record of Earth sounds (including recordings of humpback whales 'singing' off the coast of Bermuda) that flew aboard the spacecraft Voyager in the event alien life forms encountered the craft. Other recordings added to the registry include works by Roy Orbison, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Kitty Wells and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.


A collection of Navajo songs, Harry Truman's 1948 Democratic National Convention speech, radio broadcasts from Ronald Reagan before he became president, and the original cast recording of "My Fair Lady" also made the cut, as did broadcasts of New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reading comics to children during a 1945 newspaper delivery strike.


A recording of the first trans-Atlantic broadcast — an orchestral performance transmitted from London and relayed to the US East Coast in 1925 — also was included because it represented a technological breakthrough in broadcasting.


The Library of Congress chooses 25 recordings each year to add to its registry and preserve. Nominations come from a Library of Congress preservation board and online suggestions from the public. The selections for 2007 bring the registry's total to 250.

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