Mario, Madonna and Mariah have entered the national audio canon.
Madonna’s star-making 1984 album ‘Like a Virgin’, Mariah Carey’s 1994 holiday perennial ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and the original 1985 theme from Super Mario Bros. are now in the US National Recording Registry as part of “the defining sounds of the nation’s history and culture,” the Library of Congress announced Wednesday.
In all, 25 albums, singles and other sound artifacts spanning more than a century are being inducted into the registry, from the first known recording of mariachi music in 1908 and 1909 by Cuarteto Coculense, to 2012’s ‘Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra’ by composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
The Super Mario Bros. music, officially known as the ‘Ground Theme’, written by young Nintendo composer Koji Kondo, becomes the first music from a video game to enter the registry, which called it in a news release “the most recognisable video game theme in history.” The tune has appeared in countless Mario-related incarnations, including in the new megahit ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’.
Queen Latifah becomes the first female rapper with a recording in the registry with the inclusion of her 1989 album ‘All Hail the Queen’, whose songs include the feminist anthem ‘Ladies First’.
Other full albums getting recognition include 1970’s ‘Déjà Vu’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, 1983’s ‘Synchronicity’ by the Police, and 1985’s ‘Black Codes (From the Underground)’ by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
Other singles making the list include Bobby Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ (1967), John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ (1971), Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (1971), John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ (1971), and Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ (1977).
Those recordings are joined by a pair of 1980s standards: ‘Flashdance...What a Feeling’ by Irene Cara (1983) and ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ by Eurythmics (1983).
The inductees include two non-musical entries, astronomer Carl Sagan’s recording of his book about humanity’s place in the universe, ‘Pale Blue Dot’, and NBC radio reporter Dorothy Thompson’s commentaries and analysis from Europe during the runup to World War II in 1939.
The Library of Congress selects the titles for preservation for their cultural and historic importance to the American soundscape.
Artists with recordings added to the registry in recent years include Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong and Dr Dre.