Jay-Z (Courtesy photo)

R&B singers Sam and Dave’s 1967 hit “Soul Man,” Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint,” Cab Calloway’s 1931″Minnie the Moocher,” Earth, Wind and Fire’s 1978 hit “September,” Sylvester’s 1978 disco single “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 soundtrack for “Superfly” are among the newest recordings inducted this year into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Other recordings among the 20 inductees announced Wednesday by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayes, include the classic radio western “Gunsmoke,” Ritchie Valens’ groundbreaking 1958 sensation “La Bamba,” the revolutionary 1968 Broadway musical “Hair” and Neil Diamond’s 1969 “Sweet Caroline,” which became a popular sports anthem.

“The National Recording Registry honors the music that enriches our souls, the voices that tell our stories and the sounds that mirror our lives” Hayden said in a statement. “The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially. The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future.”

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board, is tasked with annually selecting 25 titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” and are at least 10 years old.

The newly added recordings bring the total number of titles on the registry to 525, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.

The sound recordings recently named to the registry showcase works across multiple genres, including blues, children’s recordings, classical, comedy, country, radio, jazz, pop, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, Latin and Broadway. The spoken-word and musical recordings span a century from 1901 to 2001. The most contemporary recording is Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint” album, which solidified his reputation as one of the greatest rappers in music.

Cyndi Lauper’s celebrated 1983 debut solo album “She’s So Unusual” also made the list.

“I’m really honored that ‘She’s So Unusual’ is being recognized as being one of the nation’s audio treasures worthy of lifetime preservation,” Lauper said.

The Detroit riot of 1967 was the impetus for Sam & Dave’s iconic single “Soul Man.”

“When I recorded ‘Soul Man,’ I had no idea it would become an anthem and such a significant part of American culture,” said Sam Moore, who formed the duo with Dave Prater. “I’ve learned that when I first sang ‘Soul Man,’ it was the first time that those words had ever been used together in the English language, to which I can only say ‘wow!’”

Other culturally significant recordings include Nina Simone’s 1964 single “Mississippi Goddam” — a response to the murders of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the bombing death of four little girls at a church in Alabama.

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.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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