Song of the Day #4,655: ‘Black Cat’ – Janet Jackson

In addition to individual songs, the Library of Congress adds whole albums to the National Recording Registry. This year, albums by Jackson Browne, Jimmy Cliff and Nas were among those inducted.

Also honored was Janet Jackson’s 1989 album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (that’s a mouthful of a title). As I noted a couple of years ago, I have a huge blindspot when it comes to Janet Jackson, not realizing exactly how major an impact she has had both commercially and creatively. Clearly the Library of Congress doesn’t share my ignorance.

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Song of the Day #4,654: ‘Rainbow Connection’ – Kermit the Frog

The Library of Congress addition to the National Recording Registry that got the most press last week was Kermit the Frog’s ‘Rainbow Connection.’ As well it should.

The opening ballad of the 1979 The Muppet Movie is one of the sweetest, gentlest odes to optimism ever written, and Kermit’s earnest performance is one for the ages. It says so much about the creative imagination of Jim Henson and his team that we so easily think of this puppet as a living, breathing artist in his own right.

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Song of the Day #4,653: ‘Lady Marmalade’ – Labelle

Theme weeks like this one on the Library of Congress’ latest additions to the National Recording Registry always reveal holes in my musical education.

For example, I never knew the 2001 Moulin Rouge song ‘Lady Marmalade’ was a cover of a 1974 single by Labelle. And I didn’t know Patti LaBelle fronted a girl group called Labelle, a trio that started as Patte LaBelle and the Bluebelles before changing their name in the early 70s.

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Song of the Day #4,652: ‘Once a Day’ – Connie Smith

The Library of Congress added Connie Smith’s ‘Once a Day’ to the National Registry, honoring a woman acknowledged as one of the most influential vocalists in country music history. I’d never heard of her.

Her 1964 recording of ‘Once a Day’ was Smith’s debut single and the biggest hit of her career. It was the first debut song by a female country artist to hit #1, and held a record for most weeks in the top spot by a female country artist for 50 years, when it was unseated by Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together.’

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Song of the Day #4,651: ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ – Louis Armstrong

Every year starting in 2002, the Library of Congress names 25 recordings to its National Recording Registry, a collection of works deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

These can be songs, albums, or spoken word broadcasts — the only restriction is that they be at least 10 years old and they physically exist. Members of the public are welcome to submit nominations.

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