There are now 375 recordings in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. They run the gamut from turn of the century vaudeville ditties to mind-melting jazz performances. And with the announcement of this year's list, they also now include the biggest selling disco album of all time. Talk about covering all your bases.
The big news for fans of popular music is the announcement that Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence," the Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Cheap Thrills," the Wild Tchoupitoulas self-titled debut, the Ramones' first album, and Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" will all join the list of "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings housed in the Registry.
It would be difficult to argue against the inclusion of any of these albums. However, I would suggest that Radiohead's "OK Computer," Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Braodway," and at least one Frank Zappa album belong in there, too.
After all, if aliens do invade, or some crackpot armageddon theory turns out to be factually accurate, this Registry might end up being all that's left of our musical culture. It just plain wouldn't be right to deny a hypothetical conquering race the pleasures of Zappa's "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" or Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," now would it? Oh well. Maybe next year.
Congratulations to this year's inductees! - Jeff Miers