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2023 National Recording Registry (Library of Congress) Inducts Music from Led Zeppelin among others


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National Recording Registry Inducts Music from Led Zeppelin

12 Apr 2023

National Recording Registry Inducts Music from from Jimmy Buffett, Eurythmics, John Lennon, John Denver, The Police, Led Zeppelin and Super Mario Also Among 25 Selected for Preservation



“Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin (1971)  

The familiarity of “Stairway to Heaven” can obscure the fact that it is a carefully crafted song. Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist and producer, was responsible for much of the song’s structure and feel. Early in his career as a studio musician, Page had learned that one of the cardinal rules of studio work was to keep an even tempo and resist the urge to speed up at all costs. Ironically, “Stairway to Heaven” violates this rule to masterful effect, as it gradually increases speed, while adding instruments one at a time. First, we hear a lone acoustic guitar, soon a recorder enters, and, as the sound broadens, we hear vocals, a 12-string guitar and bass. Remarkably, the drums don’t enter until half way through the eight-minute song. As it gains momentum, the acoustic instruments fall away and we find ourselves listening to a fully electric hard-rock band. Bassist John Paul Jones contributed the recorder melody, lending a medieval feel to the song’s early measures. He and drummer John Bonham’s rhythm activities build to their usual huge and thunderous level. Few can imitate Robert Plant’s singing, and his lyrics, most of which were written during the band’s rehearsals, have appealed to a wide range of fans, while proving open to a bewildering number of interpretations. Finally, Page recorded one of the most tasteful solos in rock music.


Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named 25 recordings as audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.

“The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” Hayden said. “The national library is proud to help ensure these recordings are preserved for generations to come, and we welcome the public’s input on what songs, speeches, podcasts or recorded sounds we should preserve next. We received more than 1,100 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”

The recordings selected for the National Recording Registry bring the number of titles on the registry to 625, representing a small portion of the national library’s vast recorded sound collection of nearly 4 million items.

The latest selections named to the registry span from 1908 to 2012. They range from the first recordings of Mariachi music and early sounds of the Blues to radio journalism leading up to World War II, and iconic sounds from pop, country, rock, R&B, jazz, rap, and classical music.

Classic Folk, Rock and Pop Music Preserved for All Time

Some of the most enduring and beloved music from folk, rock and pop from the 1960s to 1980s tunes many Americans still find themselves singing together every year — also join the National Recording Registry this year.

This year’s class includes “Sherry” by The Four Seasons in 1962, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1965 and written by the late songwriting duo of Hal David and Burt Bacharach, “Imagine” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1971, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” from 1971, “Synchronicity” by The Police, including Sting, in 1983, and more unforgettable recordings.

“Take Me Home, Country Roads,” recorded by John Denver in 1971, might be one of the nation’s favorite singalongs year after year. Denver’s family said they were honored the song by Denver, Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert was chosen for preservation by the Library.

“Dad has been gone 25 years, and this song continues to be sung at concerts and events around the world, which we’re sure Dad, Bill, and Taffy never imaginedwhen they wrote it so many years ago. Thanks to the Library of Congress for this recognition,” Denver’s family said in a joint statement.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young formed a super-group of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their second album, “Déjà Vu,” made the National Recording Registry this year representing folk rock at its peak of influence and popularity. With hits such as “Teach Your Children,” “Our House” and “Woodstock,” the 1970 album also showed the influence of Joni Mitchell, this year’s recipient of the Library’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Mitchell wrote “Woodstock” and Nash, her live-in partner at the time, wrote “Our House” as an almost diary-like entry of a dreary late-winter day at their home in California.

Nash said Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s primary rule was that everyone had to agree on every song they released in order to ensure it was a collaborative statement. This led to meticulous recording sessions — Stills once estimated that it took hundreds of hours of recording to finish “Déjà Vu” — but it paid off in beautiful harmonies and melodies that have lasted for decades.

“We wanted to tell the truth,” Nash told the Library recently. “We wanted to reflect the times in which we lived. I think that’s the duty of every artist.”

About the National Recording Registry

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 titles each year 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 loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/about-this-program/. The public may nominate recordings for the Registry here.

Some registry titles have already been preserved by the copyright holders, artists or other archives. In cases where a selected title has not already been preserved, the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center works to ensure that the recording will be preserved by some entity and available for future generations. This can be through the Library’s recorded-sound preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, studios and independent producers.

The national library maintains a state-of-the-art facility where it acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (loc.gov/avconservation/). It is home to more than 9 million collection items.

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 copyright.gov.

National Recording Registry, 2023 Selections

(chronological order)

    “The Very First Mariachi Recordings” — Cuarteto Coculense (1908-1909)
    “St. Louis Blues” — Handy’s Memphis Blues Band (1922)
    “Sugar Foot Stomp” — Fletcher Henderson (1926)
    Dorothy Thompson: Commentary and Analysis of the European Situation for NBC Radio (Aug. 23-Sept. 6, 1939)
    “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around” — The Fairfield Four (1947)
    “Sherry” — The Four Seasons (1962)
    “What the World Needs Now is Love” — Jackie DeShannon (1965)
    “Wang Dang Doodle” — Koko Taylor (1966)
    “Ode to Billie Joe” — Bobbie Gentry (1967)
     “Déjà Vu” — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)
     “Imagine” — John Lennon (1971)
     “Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin (1971)
     “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver (1971)
     “Margaritaville” — Jimmy Buffett (1977)
     “Flashdance…What a Feeling” — Irene Cara (1983)
     “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — Eurythmics (1983)
     “Synchronicity” — The Police (1983)
     “Like a Virgin” — Madonna (1984)
     “Black Codes (From the Underground)” — Wynton Marsalis (1985)
     Super Mario Bros. theme — Koji Kondo, composer (1985)
     “All Hail the Queen” — Queen Latifah (1989)
     “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey (1994)
     “Pale Blue Dot” — Carl Sagan (1994)
     “Gasolina” — Daddy Yankee (2004)
     “Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra” — Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer (2012)



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