Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is among the newest recordings inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named 25 recordings as aural treasures worthy of preservation because of their cultural, historical and aesthetic importance to the nation’s recorded sound heritage.
“The National Recording Registry is the evolving playlist of the American soundscape. It reflects moments in history captured through the voices and sounds of the time,” said Hayden. “We received over 800 nominations this year for culturally, historically or aesthetically significant recordings to add to the registry.”
Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. More information on the National Recording Registry can be found at loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/about-this-program/.
The new recordings added to the National Recording Registry bring the total number of titles on the registry to 550, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.
Two of the additions — Dusty Springfield’s 1969 album “Dusty in Memphis” and Whitney Houston’s rendition of a Dolly Parton classic, “I Will Always Love You” — have a hidden connection. Houston’s mother, legendary gospel vocalist Cissy Houston, recorded background vocals as a member of The Sweet Inspirations for songs on “Dusty in Memphis.”
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
“I Will Always Love You” (single), Whitney Houston (1992)
Inspired in part by the end of her musical partnership with Porter Wagoner, this song had been a big hit on the 1974 country charts for its writer, Dolly Parton. Later, it would become one of her signature compositions; over the years, she often concluded her concerts and her TV variety shows with it. In the early ’90s, actor Kevin Costner suggested that pop diva Whitney Houston record it for the soundtrack of their forthcoming film, “The Bodyguard.” Already recognized as one the great voices of her generation, Houston took the song and made it her own. Her powerful, passionate performance drove her rendition to the top of the charts. The recording would eventually become Houston’s signature song and sell upwards of 20 million copies.
2019 National Recording Registry
- “Whispering” (single), Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra (1920)
- “Protesta per Sacco e Vanzetti,” Compagnia Columbia; “Sacco e Vanzetti,” Raoul Romito (1927)
- “La Chicharronera” (single), Narciso Martinez and Santiago Almeida (1936)
- “Arch Oboler’s Plays” episode “The Bathysphere.” (Nov. 18, 1939)
- “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” (single), Memphis Minnie (1941)
- The 1951 National League tiebreaker: New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers — Russ Hodges, announcer (Oct. 3, 1951)
- Puccini’s “Tosca” (album), Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Angelo Mercuriali, Tito Gobbi, Melchiorre Luise, Dario Caselli, Victor de Sabata (1953)
- “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (single), Allan Sherman (1963)
- WGBH broadcast of the Boston Symphony on the day of the John F. Kennedy assassination, Boston Symphony Orchestra (1963)
- “Fiddler on the Roof” (album), original Broadway cast (1964)
- “Make the World Go Away” (single), Eddy Arnold (1965)
- Hiromi Lorraine Sakata Collection of Afghan Traditional Music (1966-67; 1971-73)
- “Wichita Lineman” (single), Glen Campbell (1968)
- “Dusty in Memphis” (album), Dusty Springfield (1969)
- “Mister Rogers Sings 21 Favorite Songs From ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ ” (album), Fred Rogers (1973)
- “Cheap Trick at Budokan” (album), Cheap Trick (1978)
- Holst: Suite No. 1 in E-Flat, Suite No. 2 in F / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Bach: Fantasia in G (Special Edition Audiophile Pressing album), Frederick Fennell and the Cleveland Symphonic Winds (1978)
- “Y.M.C.A.” (single), Village People (1978)
- “A Feather on the Breath of God” (album), Gothic Voices; Christopher Page, conductor; Hildegard von Bingen, composer (1982)
- “Private Dancer” (album), Tina Turner (1984)
- “Ven Conmigo” (album), Selena (1990)
- “The Chronic” (album), Dr. Dre (1992)
- “I Will Always Love You” (single), Whitney Houston (1992)
- “Concert in the Garden” (album), Maria Schneider Orchestra (2004)
- “Percussion Concerto” (album), Colin Currie (2008)