The American Soundscape

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There are some sounds that bring back a time, a place, or a national mood like nothing else — a lonesome train whistle, the crack and call of a famous "at bat," the first crackly news report of a tragedy or triumph, a line of music now long gone.

For most of history, sound was fleeting; only a memory a moment after it occurred. For the past century and more, from wax cylinders to LPs and I- pods, sound has been captured, but even that is perishable. Tape rots. Recordings are lost.

Now, each year, the Library of Congress is saving fifty key American sounds they hope will last forever.

From Calvin Coolidge to Jimi Hendrix, hear about the latest round of saved American sound.

Here is the list of sounds saved in 2005:
1. "Canzone del Porter" from "Martha (von Flotow)." Edouard de Reszke. (1903)
2. "Listen to the Lambs." Hampton Quartette; recorded by Natalie Curtis Burlin. (1917)
3. "Over There." Nora Bayes. (1917)
4. "Crazy Blues." Mamie Smith. (1920)
5. "My Man" and "Second Hand Rose." Fanny Brice. (1921)
6. "Ory's Creole Trombone." Kid Ory. (June 1922)
7. Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge. (March 4, 1925)
8. "Tanec pid werbamy/Dance Under the Willows." Ukrainian violin solo with cymbaly, bass and sleigh bells, Pawlo Huemiuk. (1926)
9. "Singin' the Blues." Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke. (1927)
10. First official transatlantic telephone conversation. (Jan. 7, 1927)
11. "El Manisero" ("The Peanut Vendor"). Rita Montaner, vocal with orchestra (1927)."El Manisero." Don Azpiazu and his Havana Casino orchestra. (1930)
12. Light's Golden Jubilee Celebration. (Oct. 21, 1929)
13. Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Op. 84, Modesto High School Band. (1930)
14. Show Boat. Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, James Melton and others; Victor Young, conductor; Louis Alter, piano. (1932)
15. "Wabash Cannonball." Roy Acuff. (1936)
16. "One o'Clock Jump." Count Basie and his Orchestra. (1937)
17. Archibald MacLeish's "Fall of the City." Orson Welles, narrator, Burgess Meredith, Paul Stewart. (April 11, 1937)
18. "The Adventures of Robin Hood" radio broadcast of May 11, 1938
19. Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight, Clem McCarthy, announcer. (June 22,1938)
20. "John the Revelator." Golden Gate Quartet. (1938)
21. "Adagio for Strings." Arturo Toscanini, conductor; NBC Symphony. (recorded broadcast of Nov. 5, 1938)
22. "Command Performance" show No. 21, Bob Hope, master of ceremonies. (July 7, 1942)
23. "Straighten up and Fly Right." Nat "King" Cole. (1943)
24. "The Fred Allen Show." (Radio broadcast of Oct. 7, 1945)
25. "Jole Blon." Harry Choates. (1946)
26. "Tubby the Tuba." Paul Tripp (words) and George Kleinsinger (music). (1946)
27. "Move on up a Little Higher." Mahalia Jackson. (1948)
28. "Anthology of American Folk Music." Edited by Harry Smith. (1952)
29. "Schooner Bradley." Performed by Pat Bonner. (1952-60)
30. "Damnation of Faust." Boston Symphony Orchestra with the Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Society. (1954)
31. "Blueberry Hill." Fats Domino. (1956)
32. "Variations for Orchestra." representative of the Louisville Orchestra First Edition Recordings series, Louisville Orchestra. (1956)
33. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." Jerry Lee Lewis. (1957)
34. "That'll Be the Day." The Crickets. (1957)
35. "Poeme Electronique." Edgard Varese. (1958)
36. Time Out. The Dave Brubeck Quartet. (1959)
37. Studs Terkel interview with James Baldwin, representative of the Studs Turkel Collection at the Chicago Historical Society. (Sept. 29, 1962)
38. William Faulkner address at West Point Military Academy. (1962)
39. "Dancing in the Street." Martha and the Vandellas. (1964)
40. Live at the Regal. B.B. King. (1965)
41. Are You Experienced? Jimi Hendrix Experience. (1967)
42. We're Only in It for the Money. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. (1968)
43. Switched-On Bach. Wendy Carlos. (1968)
44. "Oh Happy Day." Edwin Hawkins Singers. (1969)
45. Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers. Firesign Theatre. (1970)
46. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Gil Scott-Heron. (1970)
47. Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (1972)
48. The old foghorn, Kewaunee, Wis. Recorded by James A. Lipsky. (1972)
49. Songs in the Key of Life. Stevie Wonder. (1976)
50. Daydream Nation. Sonic Youth. (1988)


Gene DeAnna, head of the Library of Congress's recorded sound section

Sam Bylawski, head of the Library of Congress's recorded sound section and Editor of the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings for the University California at Santa Barbara

Jack Beatty, On Point News Analyst

This program aired on April 25, 2006.


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