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Library of Congress adds 25 new recordings to its National Recording Registry

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

What does this Queen Latifah song from 1989...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LADIES FIRST")

QUEEN LATIFAH: (Rapping) Some think that we can't flow.

FADEL: ...Have to do with this...

(SOUNDBITE OF KOJI KONDO'S "GROUND THEME")

FADEL: ...The "Super Mario" theme?

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

They're all bangers? But they're also 2 of 25 recordings the Library of Congress recently added to its National Recording Registry. For the first time, the annual list includes a female rapper and a video game soundtrack.

FADEL: Carla Hayden is the librarian of Congress and she explains the selection process.

CARLA HAYDEN: Some of the recordings are classic rock and pop music, John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." And as I'm saying it, I'm almost bursting into song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS")

JOHN DENVER: (Singing) Country roads, take me home.

HAYDEN: Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEET DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS)")

EURYTHMICS: (Singing) Sweet dreams are made of this.

HAYDEN: "What The World Needs Now Is Love," first recorded by Jackie DeShannon, 1965.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE")

JACKIE DESHANNON: (Singing) What the world needs now is love.

HAYDEN: One of the oldest recordings on this list this year is from 1908, and it's one of the first recordings of mariachi music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EL PERIQUITO")

CUARTETO COCULENSE: (Singing in Spanish).

HAYDEN: And something that's very significant culturally, "Gasolina."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GASOLINA")

DADDY YANKEE: (Singing in Spanish).

HAYDEN: It's a reggaeton recording. Yankee Doodle - or Daddy Yankee. And to see how I can get mixed up there, too. But that's why we want to bring that awareness.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARL SAGAN: (Reading) ...Than this distant image...

HAYDEN: But then there are things that people might not think about.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAGAN: (Reading) It underscores our responsibility...

HAYDEN: Carl Sagan reading from his book in 1994, "Pale Blue Dot."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAGAN: (Reading) The pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

MARTÍNEZ: We asked the Librarian of Congress if she has a favorite.

HAYDEN: Well, I actually do - "Wang Dang Doodle" by Koko Taylor.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANG DANG DOODLE")

KOKO TAYLOR: (Singing) We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long.

HAYDEN: 1966, Chicago blues. And Koko Taylor had a very dusty, husky voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANG DANG DOODLE")

TAYLOR: (Singing) Tell ol' Pistol Pete.

HAYDEN: And when that was suggested, I said, oh, my goodness, they're going to put "Wang Dang Doodle" on. OK.

MARTÍNEZ: Hayden says anyone can nominate recordings, in case you have ideas for next year's list.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANG DANG DOODLE")

TAYLOR: (Singing) We gonna kick down all the doors. We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.