One of the most broadcast songs of the 20th century, Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," has been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress, along with recordings from Joan Baez, The Righteous Brothers, Steve Martin, and the darker sounds of the band Radiohead. Twenty-five sound recordings spanning from 1890 to 1999 were added today to the library's National Recording Registry. Each year the library chooses recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," under terms of a preservation act passed by Congress 15 years ago.
Some of the unforgettable tunes being archived include "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" from Johnny Mercer in 1944, Baez's first solo album, The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and Steve Martin's A Wild and Crazy Guy comedy album, which broke new ground in the 1970s as Martin broke out of formulaic jokes and punch lines for less predictable humor. Other historic recordings chosen for preservation include radio coverage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's funeral in 1945 and the 1953 theatrical recording of "John Brown's Body," based on a Civil War poem that proved commercially successful as a non-musical play. Curators also deemed some more recent recordings worthy of preservation, including tunes from TV's Sesame Street and Radiohead's 1997 album OK Computer.