Theme from SHAFT is being preserved for history at the Library of Congress

The theme song from “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes will be preserved for future generations at the Library of Congress.

The Library named 25 additions to its National Recording Registry on Wednesday, a collection of 400 audio recordings preserved for their cultural, artistic or historical importance, representing “the richness and diversity of the American soundscape.

Each year, the Library of Congress adds 25 diverse recordings — from spoken-word pieces to musical albums — to ensure important sound recordings will survive future changes to technology.

“These recordings represent an important part of America’s culture and history,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in a statement. “As technology continually changes and formats become obsolete, we must ensure that our nation’s aural legacy is protected. The National Recording Registry is at the core of this effort.”

Since 2000, when Congress passed the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the librarian has selected 25 recordings to add to the Registry. He receives advice from National Recording Preservation Board, which includes musicians, librarians and recording industry experts. The recordings must be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and at least 10 years old. The newest recording on this year’s list is Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” which was released in 1994.

The selections for this year span more than 100 years, beginning in 1896.  What’s most interesting is the addition of “The Laughing Song.” It’s the earliest recording from George Washington Johnson, the country’s first black recording artist.


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