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Rapper's Delight' Preserved as 'Cultural, Artistic and Historical Treasure' in Library of Congress


The Library of Congress prides itself, at least in theory, on preserving some of America's most treasured artifacts, whether those artifacts are physical objects, video records, audio recordings, or what have you. These include such august items as recordings of former slaves telling their life stories, recordings of anti-McCarthyite journalist Edward R. Murrow, and even the recording of Leonard Bernstein's first concert with the New York Philharmonic.

Oh, and as of today, a song called "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, apparently considered to be the first commercially popular rap song. The Federal Times reports:

The Library of Congress said today it will preserve everything from a tinny 1888 recording of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to Prince’s incendiary album “Purple Rain” as part of its latest slate of entries to the National Recording Registry.

The Library each year preserves 25 recordings it feels are “cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures for generations to come.” This year, a wide variety of recordings will be added, including:

  • Bo Diddley’s songs “Bo Diddley” and “I’m A Man,”
  • Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” recognized as the first hit rap song,
  • Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions,”
  • Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,”
  • Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,”
  • Parliament’s album “Mothership Connection,”
  • A May 1977 concert by the Grateful Dead, and
  • Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”

25 recordings a year. That's it. And apparently, along with icons like the Grateful Dead, Donna Summer, Bo Diddley and Charlie Brown, this is what they consider to be a “cultural, artistic and/or historical treasure:"

Real American history in action there. Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

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