'Stand by Me' among 25 records being preserved at US library

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Sound recordings preserved by Library of Congress
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'Stand by Me' among 25 records being preserved at US library

1. Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at University of California, Santa Barbara Library (c.1890-1910)

Photo Credit: Charles C. Pierce, via Fæ/Flickr

2. The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection, recorded at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago (1893)

Photo Credit: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago/Getty Images

3. "The Boys of the Lough"/"The Humours of Ennistymon," Michael Coleman (1922)

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4. "Black Snake Moan"/ "Match Box Blues," Blind Lemon Jefferson (1928)

Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

5. "Sorry, Wrong Number," from "Suspense" radio series (1943)

Portrait of Agnes Moorehead

Photo Credit: Toronto Star Archives via Getty Images

American actor Rita Hayworth (1918 - 1987) makes a face as she reads from a script and American actor Hans Conried (1917 - 1982) looks at her, as they perform in front of a microphone for the taping of the CBS radio show 'Suspense'.

Photo Credit: Gene Lester/Getty Images

6. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," Johnny Mercer (1944)

Photo Credit: William Gottlieb/Redferns via Getty

7. Radio Coverage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Funeral, Arthur Godfrey, et al. (1945)

Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The funeral procession with the coffin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 - 1945) is moving from Union Station to The White house. 14th April 1945. The President died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home. Washington, D.C., United States.

Photo Credit: Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

8. "Kiss Me, Kate," original cast album (1949)

Photo Credit: GAB Archive/Redferns via Getty

9. "John Brown's Body," Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson, and Raymond Massey; directed by Charles Laughton (1953)

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10. "My Funny Valentine," The Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker (1953)

Photo Credit: PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

11. "Sixteen Tons," Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)

Photo Credit: Archive Photos/Moviepix, Getty Images

12. "Mary Don't You Weep," The Swan Silvertones (1959)

Photo Credit: Hooks Bros/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

13. "Joan Baez," Joan Baez (1960)

Photo Credit: Gai Terrell/Redferns via Getty

Portrait of Joan Baez, pet cat

Photo Credit: David Redfern/Redferns via Getty

14. "Stand by Me," Ben E. King (1961)

Photo Credit: Ivan Keeman/Redferns via Getty

Ben E. King, the American soul singer and former member of The Drifters, is seen performing at the Palladium in London, England, on March 3, 1987.

Photo Credit: Gill Allen, AP Photo

American soul singer and musician Ben E King, formerly lead singer with vocal group the Drifters. King had a big solo hit with the single 'Stand By Me' in 1961.

Photo Credit: Doug McKenzie, Getty Images

15. "New Orleans' Sweet Emma Barrett and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band," Sweet Emma and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band (1964)

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16. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,'" The Righteous Brothers (1964)

Photo Credit: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

17. "The Doors," The Doors (1967)

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

American rock band The Doors mirror their looks for a photoshoot, 1967. They are vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger.

Photo Credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images

18. "Stand!" Sly and the Family Stone (1969)

Photo Credit: Gilles Petard/Redferns via Getty

19. "Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues," Lincoln Mayorga (1968)

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20. "A Wild and Crazy Guy," Steve Martin (1978)

Photo Credit: Joe McNally/Getty Images

Comedian Steve Martin poses for a portrait with a cat to publicize the release of his album 'Wild And Crazy Guy' in 1978.

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

21. "Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favorites," Various (1995)

Photo Credit: Children's Television Workshop/Courtesy of Getty Images

22. "OK Computer," Radiohead (1997)

Photo Credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Photo of Thom YORKE and RADIOHEAD; Jonny Greenwood & Thom Yorke (playing Fender Telecaster Deluxe) performing live onstage.

Photo Credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty

23. "Songs of the Old Regular Baptists," various (1997)

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24. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," Lauryn Hill (1998)

Photo Credit: Anthony Barboza, Getty Images

25. "Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman," Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor; Joan Tower, composer (1999)

Photo Credit: Colorado Symphony, AP Photo

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- One of the most broadcast songs of the 20th century, Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," has been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress, along with recordings from Joan Baez, The Righteous Brothers, Steve Martin and the darker sounds of the band Radiohead.

Twenty-five sound recordings spanning from 1890 to 1999 were added Wednesday to the library's National Recording Registry. Each year the library chooses recordings that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

Some of the unforgettable tunes being archived include "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" from Johnny Mercer in 1944, Baez's first solo album, The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and Steve Martin's "A Wild and Crazy Guy" comedy album, which broke new ground in the 1970s as Martin broke out of formulaic jokes and punchlines for less predictable humor.

Upon hearing of his archive-worthy achievement, Martin deadpanned: "I could not be more proud of this honor. This means the record was probably funny."

The Library of Congress has been seeking to preserve important sound recordings for 15 years under terms of a preservation act passed by Congress.

In the 1960s, King originally intended his song "Stand by Me" for his former group, the Drifters, but he ended up recording it himself. The song is anchored by one of the best-known bass lines in history, curators said. A few years later, The Righteous Brothers were recording "Lovin' Feelin.'" They thought the song was wrong for them at first but ended up with a hit.

The oldest recordings being saved are in the form of 600 wax cylinder recordings at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that were recorded by consumers in the 1890s, 1900s and 1910s as snapshots of everyday life. These are among the most endangered audio formats because their grooves are fragile and the wax decomposes over time. Another set of wax-cylinder recordings from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair captured sounds of musicians from around the world performing at the fair, giving Americans their first exposure to "world music."

Other historic recordings chosen for preservation include radio coverage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's funeral in 1945 and the 1953 theatrical recording of "John Brown's Body," based on a Civil War poem that proved commercially successful as a non-musical play.

Curators also deemed some more recent recordings worthy of preservation, include tunes from TV's "Sesame Street." The children's show used music as an integral part of its educational program and drew stars ranging from B.B. King to R.E.M. and the Dixie Chicks. The library chose the 1995 recording "Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favorites" for the registry.

Public nominations lifted Radiohead's 1997 album "OK Computer" to the curators' attention after several years, with an album's information-age dystopia characterized by corrupt politicians, psychopaths, consumerism and airline disasters.

"I sort of see it as part of a certain ongoing phenomenon in rock music that maybe begins with the Velvet Underground but also The Doors, who are on the registry this year. Pop music is not entirely positive in its outlook, shall we say," curator Matt Barton said. "I think we can say that `OK Computer' really sums a lot of that up."

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