The Sounds of American Culture

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Every year the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress selects 25 recordings to be preserved for all time. Our five-part series "The Sounds of American Culture," produced by Ben Manilla and Devon Strolovitch, highlights five of this year's selections.

Our series receives production support from the Library of Congress.

Weigh in: What other recordings should be added to the Registry?

Produced by:

Ben Manilla and Devon Strolovitch

John Lee Hooker: Boogie Chillen

Our series begins with John Lee Hooker's breakthrough song "Boogie Chillen". Blues veteran Charlie Musselwhite and writer Peter Guralnick explain how Hooker's 1948 song left its mark on American music.

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Carmen Miranda: O Que è Que a Bahiana Tem

This samba was recorded by the Brazilian singer Carmen Miranda in 1939. Dori Caymmi, the son of the songwriter, and biographer Martha Gil-Montero explain how the song brought Brazilian music to the global marketplace — with unforeseen consequences for Miranda.

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The 2,000 Year Old Man

This 1961 comedy routine by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner is about a man so old, he once knew Jesus — personally — and dated Joan of Arc. Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner explain why "2000 Year-Old Man" will live forever.

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George Jones: He Stopped Loving Her Today

One of this year's selections is a song so sad that George Jones was initially reluctant to record it. Yet it became one of the most popular songs in country music. 

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Link Wray: Rumble

This guitar instrumental altered the course of rock music. The story of Link Wray and "Rumble," from 1958, is told by guitarist Steven Van Zandt, bassist James Hutchinson, and writer Brian Wright-McLeod.

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Comments [3]

Karen Green from New York, NY

I second Rebecca Monroe's suggestion of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes performed by Boris Karloff, Cyril Ritchard and Celeste Holm. Unavailable in any format today! (Except secondhand vinyl, if you can find it...)

Jul. 13 2010 03:30 PM
Vic from (Anywhere, USA) Chester, NJ

If it hasn't already been added to the Library of Congress Registry, let's get groovy, and include, LIVE at THE FILLMORE EAST, June 1971, by Frank Zappa & The Mothers.
(say goodbye to the Fillmore East, and "don't forget to vote")

Jan. 03 2010 01:10 PM
Kevin McCormack from Lynbrook Ny

"somewhere" performed by Tom Waits

Dec. 28 2009 06:37 PM

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