Sounds of America: Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Super Mario & More Added to U.S. National Recording Registry

Twenty-five audio recordings were added to the U.S. National Recording Registry this year by the Library of Congress. The catalog is made up of a range of albums, singles and other works that hold aesthetic, historic or cultural significance in America and showcases the country’s range and diversity of sound and music. 

From the hit songs of iconic artists to the first known recordings of mariachi music, each of the 25 inducted pieces for 2023 represent defining sounds of America’s history and culture. Among the celebrated works that made it to the National Recording Registry this year are Mariah Carey’s top holiday single, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Madonna’s second studio album, Like a Virgin and the original Super Mario Bros. theme song from 1985. 

Written by young college composer Koji Kondo back in the ’80s, The Super Mario Bros. song is the first soundtrack from a video game to enter the registry. It has become one of the most recognizable and influential video game theme songs in America.

This year’s recording selection also made history by making Queen Latifah the first female rapper to have music inducted in the registry. Her album, “All Hail the Queen,” released in 1989, is one of six albums added to the National Recording Registry in 2023. 

Other full albums chosen this year include: The Very First Mariachi Recordings by Cuarteto Coculense (1908–1909); Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970); Synchronicity by The Police (1983); and Black Codes (From the Underground) by Wynton Marsalis (1985).

Recognizable singles that made the list include: Eurythmics’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (1983); 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); Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” (1977); and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” (2004).

The remaining works added to the registry this year are comprised of a classical piece by composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich titled “Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra,” as well as two non-musical entries: the audio-recording of “Pale Blue Dot” by astronomer Carl Sagan and Dorothy Thompson’s Commentary and Analysis of the European Situation in World War ll for NBC Radio. 

To read the complete National Recording Registry for 2023, click here.

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