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Kermit! On Fame, Fortune and the 2020 National Recording Registry

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This post by Neely Tucker, writer in the Library’s Office of Communications, was originally published on the Library’s main blog.

We get a fair number of famous people passing through your favorite national Library, but it’s not everyday that the world’s most famous (and only singing) frog hops on a video interview with the Librarian herself.

But Kermit the Frog did indeed chat with Carla Hayden about his induction into the 2020 class of the National Recording registry and his notable breakthrough of being the first frog to ever make the list. His entry was “The Rainbow Connection,” the huge hit from 1979’s “The Muppet Movie,” which made him a banjo-strumming star.

The list, announced yesterday, is an annual 25-recording addition to the nation’s historical archives of music, broadcasts or other recordings. There are now 575 recordings on the list. Highlights from this year include Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation;” Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In;” Phil Rizzuto’s broadcast of Roger Maris hitting his 61rst home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season record; Jackson Browne’s “Late for the Sky;” Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” and one of Thomas Edison’s first recordings. (You can nominate songs yourself; about 900 were suggested this year.)

In the interview, Hayden asks the Muppet star about the film’s shooting, how he handles fame and the lasting meaning of “Rainbow.” There’s also a guest appearance by songwriter Paul Williams, who co-wrote the piece with Kenneth Ascher. Williams, the Oscar Award-winning writer of “Evergreen” and recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award, says the song is about “the immense power of faith.”

Kermit agreed, and was excited by his induction.

“Well, gee, it’s an amazing feeling to officially become part of our nation’s history,” he told Hayden. It’s a great honor. And I am thrilled — I am thrilled! — to be the first frog on the list!”

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