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Works By Thomas Edison, Kermit The Frog Inducted Into Library Of Congress

From left, jazz musician Louis Armstrong in Rome in 1968, Janet Jackson at the Essence Festival in New Orleans in 2018, and Nas at the Essence Festival in 2019. Works by each of these musicians are among 25 recordings being inducted to the National Recording Registry.
From left, jazz musician Louis Armstrong in Rome in 1968, Janet Jackson at the Essence Festival in New Orleans in 2018, and Nas at the Essence Festival in 2019. Works by each of these musicians are among 25 recordings being inducted to the National Recording Registry.

What do Janet Jackson, Ira Glass, Kermit the Frog, Nas and Louis Armstrong have in common?

These musicians, interviewers, and frogs are behind songs and other recordings to be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry on Wednesday.

The Library of Congress announced the 25 titles picked this year are considered "audio treasures worthy of preservation" based on their cultural, historical, or aesthetic importance to the nation's heritage.

Janet Jackson's album "Rhythm Nation 1814;" Louis Armstrong's performance of "When the Saints Go Marching In;" Labelle's song "Lady Marmalade;" Nas' record "Illmatic," Kool & the Gang's "Celebration;" and Kermit the Frog's "The Rainbow Connection" are now part of the collection of more than 550 other titles.

"The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years," Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement Wednesday.

The recordings, stretching from 1878 to 2008, were chosen out of 900 nominations from the public, Hayden said.

"This American Life" is the first podcast to join the registry. The 2008 episode co-produced with NPR News telling the story of the subprime mortgage crisis will be added to the collection.

"When we put this out as a podcast, turning a radio show into a podcast, we did literally nothing to accommodate it," host Ira Glass said in a statement shared by the Library of Congress. "And my theory is that podcasting is most powerful for the same reason that radio is the most powerful. That is, when you have a medium where you're not seeing people, there's just an intimacy to hearing somebody's voice."

The inclusion of Kermit the Frog's "The Rainbow Connection" deeply touched the Muppet.

"Well, gee, it's an amazing feeling to officially become part of our nation's history," Kermit said in a statement. "It's a great honor. And I am thrilled — I am thrilled! — to be the first frog on the list!"

The song was included in the 1979 The Muppet Movie performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, and written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher.

Williams said the song is about the "immense power of faith."

"We don't know how it works, but we believe that it does," Williams said. "Sometimes the questions are more beautiful than the answers."

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress selects 25 titles each year that are at least 10 years old.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.