'I Will Survive,' George Carlin's dirty words routine to be preserved
Comedian George Carlin opens the 13th annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colo. on Feb. 28, 2007. (AP / E. Pablo Kosmicki)
The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, March 23, 2016 3:42AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:51AM EDT
WASHINGTON - A Gloria Gaynor disco anthem, George Carlin's seven dirty words routine and coverage of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game are among 25 sound recordings that have been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress.
The recordings reaching back to 1911 are being added Wednesday to the library's National Recording Registry. Each year the library chooses recordings that are "culturally, historically or esthetically significant" and are at least 10 years old. This year's picks include a wide range of music from blues, jazz and rock to country and classical, but there are also recordings of radio shows, sports and comedy.
"'I Will Survive' is my mantra, the core of my God-given purpose," Gaynor said of her 1978 hit being chosen in a statement provided by the library. "It is my privilege and honour to use it to inspire people around the world of every nationality, race, creed, colour and age group to join me as I sing and live the words: 'I Will Survive."'
The Library of Congress has been seeking to preserve important sound recordings under terms of a preservation act passed by Congress. This year's selections bring the registry's total to 450. Nominations come through online submissions from the public and from the registry's board.
The list includes other musical favourites such as Billy Joel's "Piano Man," the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go," Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Metallica's "Master of Puppets" album, John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" and Clifton Chenier's zydeco album "Bogalusa Boogie." The list includes two recordings of "Mack the Knife." One was recorded by Louis Armstrong with his quintet in 1956 and the other by Bobby Darin with a big band arrangement in 1959.
The registry already includes recordings by Latino artists, but Santana's "Abraxas" album, which blended Latino music with other styles, is probably the first on the registry that introduced the public on a mass scale to Latino artists and themed recordings, said Steve Leggett, program co-ordinator with the National Recording Preservation Board.
"It had a huge commercial and artistic impact," he said.
Some of the earliest recordings include a 1911 recording of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" by the Columbia Quartette, also known as the Peerless Quartet, and Clarence Williams' Blue Five's 1923 recording of "Wild Cat Blues," which is among the earliest jazz recordings to have widespread influence on musicians.
But the registry includes more than just music. One of the recordings the public submissions brought to light is the long-running daytime serial radio program "Vic and Sade," Leggett said. The registry includes the June 4, 1937, episode "Decoration Day."
The list also includes two episodes of "Destination Freedom," a radio program broadcast from 1948 to 1950 on Chicago's WMAQ. The program presented accomplishments of black Americans and the prejudices they faced and gave lead roles to black actors, which was unusual at the time.
"These highlight the importance of radio," Leggett said. "It's still a medium that people get their music and information from."
The historic recordings include George C. Marshall's June 1947 "Marshall Plan" speech outlining the plan to restore Europe after World War II. There's also a recording of the coverage of the fourth quarter of the March 2, 1962, game between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks in which Wilt Chamberlain scored a record-shattering 100 points in a single game.
Many of the filthy words discussed in "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" from Carlin's 1972 stand-up comedy album "Class Clown" still probably can't be aired.
"Let's face it, if this had happened today, it wouldn't have caused such controversy," Leggett said. "It definitely made an impact."
Here's a listing of the 2015 inductees to the National Recording Registry in chronological order:
1. "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," Columbia Quartette (Peerless Quartet) (1911)
2. "Wild Cat Blues," Clarence Williams' Blue Five (1923)
3. "Statesboro Blues," Blind Willie McTell (1928)
4. "Bonaparte's Retreat," W.H. Stepp (1937
5. "Decoration Day" from "Vic and Sade" radio series (June 4, 1937)
6. Mahler Symphony No. 9, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Bruno Walter, conductor. (1938)
7. "Carousel of American Music," George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Arthur Freed, Shelton Brooks, Hoagy Carmichael, others (Sept. 24, 1940)
8. The "Marshall Plan" speech, George C. Marshall (June 5, 1947)
9. "A Garage in Gainesville" and "Execution Awaited" from "Destination Freedom" radio program (Sept. 25, Oct. 2, 1949)
10. Original soundtrack from "A Streetcar Named Desire," Alex North, composer (1951)
11. "Cry Me a River," Julie London (1955)
12. "Mack the Knife," Louis Armstrong (1956); Bobby Darin (1959)
13. Fourth-quarter radio coverage of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game (Philadelphia Warriors vs. New York Knicks); Bill Campbell, announcer (March 2, 1962)
14. "A Love Supreme," John Coltrane (1964)
15. "It's My Way," Buffy Sainte-Marie (1964)
16. "Where Did Our Love Go," the Supremes (1964)
17. "People Get Ready, " the Impressions (1965)
18. "Mama Tried," Merle Haggard (1968)
19. "Abraxas," Santana (1970)
20. "Class Clown," George Carlin (1972)
21. "Robert and Clara Schumann Complete Piano Trios," the Beaux Arts Trio (1972)
22. "Piano Man," Billy Joel (1973)
23. "Bogalusa Boogie," Clifton Chenier (1976)
24. "I Will Survive," Gloria Gaynor (1978)
25. "Master of Puppets," Metallica (1986)