‘Perfect Rock Song’ Added to National Recording Registry

A Bay Area band’s “perfect rock song” is among 25 recordings added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry this week.

The class of 2022 brings the number of titles on the register to 600, described as “audio treasures worthy of forever preservation because of their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the recorded sound heritage of the nation”.

In addition to musical selections, the New Class includes famous speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, WNYC’s 9/11 broadcasts, and Marc Maron’s podcast interview with Robin Williams.

Some of the music selections are albums and some are singles, including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”. The registry entry notes that the 1981 hit has “been described as a ‘perfect rock song,'” and says it “has now taken its place not only as Journey’s greatest legacy, but also as a ‘hymn of self-empowerment to millions’.

The song is a tradition at home games for the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Red Wings, and it entered the cultural canon with its starring role on the latest episode of “The Sopranos.”

2022 selections at the National Recording Registry:

  • “Harlem Strut” – James P. Johnson (1921). Composition in the jazz piano style known as Harlem Stride.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt: Complete Presidential Speeches (1933-1945)
  • “Step on the ground on you” – Ernest Tubb (1941, single). Honky-tonk hit notable for the prominence of the electric guitar.
  • “On a note of triumph” (May 8, 1945). Norman Corwin’s Salute to Allied Victory in Europe, broadcast on the evening of VE Day.
  • “Jesus Gave Me Water” – The Soul Stirrers (1950, single). From Chicago gospel singer Sam Cook’s first studio session, seven years before he added an “e” to his last name and shot to pop music fame.
  • “Ellington to Newport” – Duke Ellington (1956, album)
  • “We insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite” — Max Roach (1960, album)
  • “The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole (1961, single)
  • “Tonight’s the Night” – The Shirelles (1961, album)
  • “Moon River” – Andy Williams (1962, single)
  • “In C” – Terry Riley (1968, album). An experimental composition of 53 melodic phrases that was first performed at the Tape Music Center in San Francisco.
  • “It’s a Small World” – The Disneyland Boys Choir (1964, single). “One of the most heard and remembered songs of all time” (read: “classic earworm”).
  • “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” – The Four Tops (1966, single)
  • Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run (April 8, 1974). Called in by broadcaster Milo Hamilton.
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen (1975, single)
  • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey (1981, single)
  • “Canciones de Mi Padre” – Linda Ronstadt (1987, album)
  • “Nick of Time” – Bonnie Raitt (1989, album)
  • “The Low End Theory” – A Tribe Called Quest (1991, album)
  • “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Rooms)” – Wu-Tang Clan (1993, album)
  • “Buena Vista Social Club” (1997, album)
  • “Livin’ La Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin (1999, single)
  • “Songs in A Minor” – Alicia Keys (2001, album)
  • WNYC broadcasts for 9/11 day (September 11, 2001)
  • “WTF with Marc Maron”, with guest Robin Williams (April 26, 2010)

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