Jefferson Airplane, Blondie’s Debbie Harry & More Talk About Special 2024 Music Honor

Images of the 2024 selections for the National Recording Registry

The Library of Congress has released its picks for the 2024 additions to the National Recording Registry and it is full of nostalgic classics! Albums and recordings from iconic artists such as Gene Autry, Blondie, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Mathis and others are included this year. This brings the registry up to 650 titles.

25 recordings have been named worthy of being preserved forever based on “cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said about the inductees this year, “The Library of Congress is proud to preserve the sounds of American history and our diverse culture through the National Recording Registry. We have selected audio treasures worthy of preservation with our partners this year, including a wide range of music from the past 100 years, as well as comedy. We were thrilled to receive a record number of public nominations, and we welcome the public’s input on what we should preserve next.”

Blondie’s Debbie Harry Talks “Parallel Lines”

Blondie "Parallel Lines" Album

Credit: Chrysalis.

Debbie Harry, lead singer of the group Blondie, recalls how their song “Heart of Glass” was a turning point in their careers. But before the song was a hit, record executives didn’t like it! Harry shared, “The record company didn’t like it. They didn’t hear any hits.” She added, “The old problems of art and commerce are sometimes very restrictive and I think that we, somehow being a bit of a fringe element, got to do some things that were, you know, groundbreaking.”

Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and Jorma Kaukonen remembering “Surrealistic Pillow”

“Surrealistic Pillow" Jefferson Airplane (1967).

Jefferson Airplane brought psychedelic hits to the San Francisco hippie scene in the mid-1960s such as “White Rabbt” and “Somebody to Love.” Their debut album “Surrealistic Pillow” led them to big gigs like Woodstock. “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,” lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen told the Library about the honor. Grace Slick added, “It was amusing and annoying at the same time cause you’re kind of these freaks that everybody’s coming to look at. It was like being in a zoo or something.”

Billie Joe Armstrong Reflects on Green Day’s “Dookie”

“Dookie” Green Day (1994).

Credit: Reprise

Lead singer and songwriter of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong said about being honored this year, “We always wanted to be in this band forever. I think in the back of our minds was to be able to play music together for the rest of our lives. So that’s, 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 so far.”

Booker T. Jones Recalls Bill Weathers “Ain’t No Sunshine”

“Ain’t No Sunshine” Bill Withers (1971).

Credit: Columbia

Jones helped produce the 1971 hit a recently said in an interview, “He was wearing these overalls and some broke-ass boots; he was a carpenter, I invited him into the living room. He picked up my guitar and started singing ‘Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…’ ” he sings, then chuckles. “So he kept singing and I walked out of the living room and picked up the phone and started making phone calls.” The song ended up winning a Grammy for Best R&B song the following year.

The inductees are sure to please just about any music lover as they cover genres of pop, dance, country, rap, rock, classic, jazz and more. Several of the albums or songs have a special place in history including Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” as it was the first a capella recording to top the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. If you’d like to have a hand in the choices for 2025, you can submit nominations on the Libary’s website here.

Check out the full list here:

“Clarinet Marmalade” – Lt. James Reese Europe’s 369th U.S. 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)

“Rocket ‘88’” Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (1951).

credit: Jasmine.

“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)

 “This is a Recording” Lily Tomlin (1971).

Credit: Polydor

“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)

“La-Di-Da-Di” Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (MC Ricky D) (1985).

Credit: Danya

“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)


 Birth of Rock 'n' Roll
Want More?

Birth of Rock 'n' Roll

February 2024

"Long live rock," we like to say, but how did it come to life? Revisit the memorable moments, music and movies that made teens go beat crazy back in the 1950s.

Buy This Issue