First computer song and other recordings enter Library of Congress


Because we all like a little change, and because I love this stuff, and because archiving is an important human activity and it’s fascinating what makes it into archives, here is news about 25 classic recordings that made it into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress this year.

Little Richard, album cover 1 Specialty Records, 1955 Photo courtesy: Globe

The entry that caught my eye is #14, a 1961 recording of Daisy Bell, the computer-synthesized voice singing Bicycle Built for Two. Not only is this recording — made at Bell Laboratories on an IBM 704 mainframe computer — the earliest known computer synthesized voice but it was featured in the Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey when the evil HAL 9000 computer dies at the end. Here’s the clip

      Daisy Bell

and here’s Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti, for comparison, about as far from that computer generated voice as you can get.

      Tutti Frutti

The National Recording Registry is 10 years old and with this year’s 25 recordings it now includes 300 selections, spanning the years from 1913-1995. We the People are encouraged to submit suggestions for the Recording Registry. Sign up for your free Library of Congress login and submit your idea.

Here’s the full list of this year’s entries

2009 National Recording Registry (Listing in Chronological Order)
1. “Fon der Choope” (From the Wedding), Abe Elenkrig’s Yidishe Orchestra (1913)
2. “Canal Street Blues,” King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (1923)
3. “Tristan und Isolde,” Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz
Melchior, NBC Broadcast of March 9, 1935
4. “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Cliff Edwards (recorded, 1938; released, 1940)
5. “America’s Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to
England?” (May 8, 1941)
6. The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second
Battle of Guam (July 20 – August 11, 1944)
7. “Evangeline Special” and “Love Bridge Waltz,” Iry LeJeune (1948)
8. “The Little Engine That Could,” narrated by Paul Wing (1949)
9. Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State
10. “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard (1955)
11. “Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf (1956)
12. “Gypsy,” original cast recording (1959)
13. The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)
14. “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two),” Max Mathews (1961)
15. “I Started Out As a Child,” Bill Cosby (1964)
16. “Azucar Pa Ti,” Eddie Palmieri (1965)
17. “Today!,” Mississippi John Hurt (1966))
18. “Silver Apples of the Moon,” Morton Subotnick (1967)
19. “Soul Folk in Action,” The Staple Singers (1968)
20. “The Band,” The Band (1969)
21. “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn (1970)
22. “Red Headed Stranger,” Willie Nelson (1975)
23. “Horses,” Patti Smith (1975)
24. “Radio Free Europe” R.E.M. (1981))
25. “Dear Mama,” Tupac Shakur (1995)


2001 a space oddysey, computer synthesized voice recording, daisy bell, hal, library of congress, little richard, national recording registry



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