Madonna, Daddy Yankee, Mariah Carey & More Named to National Recording Registry: Full List of 2023 Inductions

Recordings by Madonna, Daddy Yankee, Mariah Carey, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, The Police and Queen Latifah are among 25 being added to the National Recording Registry, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday (April 12).

The inductions include some history-makers. Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” is the first reggaeton recording to be inducted; the Super Mario Bros. theme (composed by Koji Kondo) is the first theme from a video game to join the registry; Lennon’s “Imagine” is the first recording by a former Beatle to be honored. The Beatles’ landmark 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was inducted in 2003.

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This year’s inductions include three albums that topped the Billboard 200 – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Déjà vu (1970), The Police’s Synchronicity (1983) and Madonna’s Like a Virgin (a 1984 release that topped the chart in 1985). Synchronicity was The Police’s only No. 1 album, Déjà vu was the first of three for CSNY, Like a Virgin was the first of nine for Madonna that made her the queen of pop.

This year’s inductions include five songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – The Four Seasons’ “Sherry” (1962), Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” (1967), Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” (1983), Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (1983), and Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (a 1994 release that first topped the Hot 100 in 2019 and has returned to No. 1 every year since).

Four newly-inducted recordings reached the top 10 on the Hot 100, though they fell short of the top spot – Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love” (No. 7 in 1965), John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (No. 2 in 1971), Lennon’s “Imagine” (No. 3 in 1971) and Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” (No. 8 in 1977).

These 25 recordings were deemed worthy of preservation “based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage,” according to the Library of Congress. This brings the number of titles on the registry to 625. The latest selections were released between 1908 and 2012.

Several of these inductions are linked to creative figures who have recently died. Cara died on Nov. 25, followed by David Crosby of CSNY on Jan. 18; Burt Bacharach, the composer of “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” on Feb. 8; and Seymour Stein, who signed Madonna to his Sire Records imprint, on April 2. (Bacharach and lyricist Hal David received the Library’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song award in 2012.)

The induction of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is the third major accolade for Eurythmics in the past year. In June 2022, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. This year, they are scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The induction of the Super Mario Bros. theme is the latest sign of increased respect for video game music. The Recording Academy added a new category, best score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media, at the 65th annual Grammy Awards, which were presented on Feb. 5.

Four of these entries received Grammy nominations in marquee categories. Déjà vu and   Synchronicity both vied for album of the year; “Ode to Billie Joe” for record and song of the year; Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feelin’” for record of the year. The latter smash also won an Oscar for best original song.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” joins a short list of holiday perennials in the Registry. Others include Associated Glee Clubs of America’s 1925 recording of “Adeste Fideles,” Bing Crosby’s 1942 classic “White Christmas,” Eugene Ormandy’s 1959 album Messiah, Nat King Cole’s 1961 re-recording of The King Cole Trio’s 1946 classic “The Christmas Song,” The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s 1965 TV soundtrack, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Latifah’s All Hail the Queen is just the second album by a female rapper to join the Registry, following Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which straddles the line between hip-hop and R&B.

All Hail the Queen was Latifah’s debut album. Déjà vu was the first CSNY album. At the other extreme, Synchronicity was the final studio album by The Police before Sting left for a successful solo career.

Koko Taylor’s 1966 hit “Wang Dang Doodle” is the fifth recording by a female blues artist to be saluted, following Memphis Minnie’s “Me and My Chauffeur Blues,” Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” Bessie Smith’s “Down-Hearted Blues,” and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey’s “See See Rider Blues.”

Led Zeppelin’s 1971 classic “Stairway to Heaven” became as famous as most No. 1 hits even though it was never released as a single. It was one of the first tracks to show the power of the album-oriented rock (AOR) format.

Déjà vu showed the influence of Joni Mitchell, this year’s recipient of the Library’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Mitchell wrote “Woodstock,” which was the first and biggest hit from the album. Graham Nash, her live-in partner at the time, wrote “Our House,” a diary-like account of an average day at their home in California. Both songs became top 30 hits on the Hot 100.

“Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra” recorded by Northwest Chamber Orchestra, was released on CD in 2012, making it the most recently-released recording to make the Registry. The classical recording captures the shifting moods of Sept. 11, 2001, from the hustle and bustle of a normal working day in New York City to the violence, anger and sorrow that followed. WNYC’s radio broadcast for that historic day was inducted last year.

“The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and
reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. “The national library is proud to help ensure these recordings are preserved for generations to come, and we welcome the public’s input on what songs, speeches, podcasts or recorded sounds we should preserve next. We received more than 1,100 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of
Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 titles
each year that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10
years old. For more information about the registry, including a complete list of previous inductions and directions on how to nominate a recording, go here.

Here’s a complete list of the 2023 selections for the National Recording Registry. They are listed in chronological order by release date.

  • The Very First Mariachi Recordings — Cuarteto Coculense (1908-1909)

  • “St. Louis Blues” — [W.C.] Handy’s Memphis Blues Band (1922)

  • “Sugar Foot Stomp” — Fletcher Henderson (1926)

  • Dorothy Thompson: Commentary and Analysis of the European Situation for NBC Radio (Aug. 23-Sept. 6, 1939)

  • “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around” — The Fairfield Four (1947)

  • “Sherry” — The Four Seasons (1962)

  • “What the World Needs Now is Love” — Jackie DeShannon (1965)

  • “Wang Dang Doodle” — Koko Taylor (1966)

  • “Ode to Billie Joe” — Bobbie Gentry (1967)

  • Déjà Vu — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)

  • “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver (1971)

  • “Imagine” — John Lennon (1971)

  • “Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin (1971)

  • “Margaritaville” — Jimmy Buffett (1977)

  • “Flashdance…What a Feeling” — Irene Cara (1983)

  • “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — Eurythmics (1983)

  • Synchronicity — The Police (1983)

  • Like a Virgin — Madonna (1984)

  • Black Codes (From the Underground) — Wynton Marsalis (1985)

  • Super Mario Bros. theme — Koji Kondo, composer (1986)

  • All Hail the Queen — Queen Latifah (1989)

  • “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey (1994)

  • “Pale Blue Dot” — Carl Sagan (1994)

  • “Gasolina” — Daddy Yankee (2004)

  • “Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra” — Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer (2012)

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