"The Twist," "Saturday Night Fever" deemed recording treasures

Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:09pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The U.S. Library of Congress on Thursday added 25 recordings to its national registry, including dance-craze inspirations such as Chubby Checker's tune "The Twist" and the "Saturday Night Fever" movie soundtrack, and pianist Van Cliburn's landmark Cold War Tchaikovsky performance.

The recordings, ranging from 1918's "After You've Gone" by cabaret star Marion Harris to jazz legend Betty Carter's 1980 album "The Audience with Betty Carter," were selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, artistic and historic importance.

This year's inductees represent a wealth of musical styles, from Broadway show tunes (Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific") to iconic 1970s rock and punk ("The Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd and The Ramones' "Ramones").

The inclusion of Cliburn's 1958 recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 comes less than a month after the U.S. pianist died in February at age 78.

Cliburn was the surprise winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, and his triumph and subsequent Soviet concert tour helped spur a brief thaw in U.S.-Soviet relations.

Country music singer and two-term Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis made the list with "You Are My Sunshine," as did avant-gardists Philip Glass and Robert Wilson for their five-hour opera, "Einstein on the Beach."

The National Recording Registry, created by Congress, began selecting and preserving recordings in 2002 to celebrate the richness and variety of the audio heritage of the United States.

Humorist, recording artist and stage star Will Rogers, blues great Janis Joplin and soprano Leontyne Price were included.

Rogers was cited for his Depression-era broadcast "Bacon, Beans and Limousines," Price was honored for "A Program of Song," while Joplin's "Cheap Thrills," her second release with Big Brother and the Holding Company, was lauded for its expression of both "desperation and endurance."   Continued...

Recording artist Chubby Checker performs before the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 50th Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida February 17, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich