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National Recording Registry 2024! Green Day, Blondie, Doug E. Fresh, Juan Gabriel!

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-Brett Zongker, the Library’s chief of media relations, contributed to this story.

Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer and songwriter for Green Day, said that the youthful band wasn’t thinking of making a generation-defining album when they starting work on “Dookie,” their breakout record of 1994. They just wanted to keep rocking.

Still, the record that produced hits such as “Longview,” “Basket Case” and “Welcome to Paradise” is still relevant 30 years later, and that makes it one of the headline entries of the 2024 National Recording Registry class, announced today by Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress.

“I think in the back of our minds was to be able to play music together for the rest of our lives,” Armstrong said in an interview with the Library. “That’s quite a goal when you’re 20 or 21 years old. But, you know, we’ve managed to do it, and it’s just been an amazing journey.”

Album cover of "Dookie," featuring cartoon-style art with the words "Green Day" emerging from an explosion
“Dookie,” Green Day’s breakout 1994 album.

Other headliners: ABBA’s “Arrival” album, Blondie’s “Parallel Lines,” The Notorious B.I.G.’s landmark “Ready to Die,” and The Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces.” They’re among the 25 songs, albums, broadcasts or other recordings that were selected by the National Recording Preservation Board and the Librarian to join the registry this year.

“We have selected audio treasures worthy of preservation with our partners this year, including a wide range of music from the past 100 years,” Hayden said. “We were thrilled to receive a record number of public nominations, and we welcome the public’s input on what we should preserve next.”

The 2024 class also includes Gene Autry’s “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” The Cars’ debut album, Juan Gabriel’s “Amor Eterno,” Héctor Lavoe’s salsa hit “El Cantante,” Kronos Quartet’s “Pieces of Africa,” Johnny Mathis’ “Chances Are,” Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Patti Page’s “Tennessee Waltz” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

There are now 650 recordings in the registry, a miniscule fraction of the Library’s holdings of nearly 4 million recordings. The registry, begun in 2002, holds items from the beginning of recorded sound in the 1850s to things created as recently as 10 years ago, the cutoff point for consideration.

A record 2,899 nominations were made by the public this year. (You can nominate additions for next year’s class until Oct. 1, 2024.)

Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” launched the band into pop-culture fame.

Jefferson Airplane brought the San Francisco hippie scene of the mid-1960s to the rest of the nation, knocking out psychedelic hits such as “White Rabbit” even as tour buses trundled through their Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to get a glimpse of the wild side.

Their second album, “Surrealistic Pillow,” made an indelible mark on the era, with “Somebody to Love” joining “Rabbit” as a major hit. The band would go on to play at both the Woodstock and Altamont music festivals and become synonymous with rock music of the day.

“We thought that we invented sex, drugs and rock and roll, and we might have invented some rock and roll, but I don’t think we had much to do with inventing the other two,” Jorma Kaukonen, the band’s lead guitarist, told the Library in recent interview.

Lead singer Grace Slick wrote “White Rabbit” based on Lewis Carroll’s children’s novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” The Victorian story became a classic, Slick read it as a child and, as many others had, took Alice’s surreal experiences “down the rabbit hole” (with a fussy white rabbit as her guide) as a metaphor for drug use. “Go ask Alice,” she intones over the song’s march-like bass line, referring to an incident in the book, “when she’s 10 feet tall.”

The song was “a shot” at her parents’ generation, she said, who thought little of their own alcohol use but excoriated ’60s kids for smoking marijuana and dropping acid.

A smiling Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is in the registry.

Juan Gabriel’s “Amor Eterno,” a heartrending ballad he started performing in the 1990s in memory of his deceased mother, has long been a staple in the singer’s native Mexico and across Latin America, and this year it joins the registry.

Gabriel died in 2016 at the age of 66, but his son, Ivan Aguilera, said his father would have been thrilled to see one of his most famous songs be enshrined in the registry.

“He would always say that ‘as long as the public, people, keep singing my music, Juan Gabriel will never die,’ and it’s nice to see that happening here,” Aguilera said.

Promotional graphic illustration of a telephone operator smirking in front of an old-fashioned switchboard.
Lily Tomlin’s trademark character, “Ernestine,” made it into the registry with her comic album, “This is a Recording.”

Here’s the complete 2024 list, in chronological order:

  • “Clarinet Marmalade” – Lt. James Reese Europe’s 369thS. Infantry Band (1919)
  • “Kauhavan Polkka” – Viola Turpeinen and John Rosendahl (1928)
  • Wisconsin Folksong Collection (1937-1946)
  • “Rose Room” – Benny Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian (1939)
  • “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Gene Autry (1949)
  • “Tennessee Waltz” – Patti Page (1950)
  • “Rocket ‘88’” – Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (1951)
  • “Catch a Falling Star” / “Magic Moments” – Perry Como (1957)
  • “Chances Are” – Johnny Mathis (1957)
  • “The Sidewinder” – Lee Morgan (1964)
  • “Surrealistic Pillow” – Jefferson Airplane (1967)
  • “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers (1971)
  • “This Is a Recording” – Lily Tomlin (1971)
  • “J.D. Crowe & the New South” – J.D. Crowe & the New South (1975)
  • “Arrival” – ABBA (1976)
  • “El Cantante” – Héctor Lavoe (1978)
  • “The Cars” – The Cars (1978)
  • “Parallel Lines” – Blondie (1978)
  • “La-Di-Da-Di” – Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (MC Ricky D) (1985)
  • “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin (1988)
  • “Amor Eterno” – Juan Gabriel (1990)
  • “Pieces of Africa” – Kronos Quartet (1992)
  • “Dookie” – Green Day (1994)
  • “Ready to Die” – The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
  • “Wide Open Spaces” – The Chicks (1998)

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Comments (2)

  1. If you’re going to put a foreign band in then why not The Rolling Stones?

  2. How ezactly did it take so long for Gene Autry’s “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to get this particular form of recognition as a “classic” recording?

    Was this the first year it was nominated??

    (Rudolph got his first TV special program back in 1964, it seems.)

    Ethan K.

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