Recordings by N.W.A, Richard Pryor, “The Wiz” added to National Recording Registry Urban

Ithaka Darin PappasAlbums by N.W.A. and Richard Pryor, the original cast recording of The Wiz, and as a song known as the “national anthem of black America,” have been chosen to be preserved in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

The registry chooses recordings each year based on their “cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage,” according to the Library of Congress.

N.W.A’s seminal 1988 album Straight Outta Compton is joining the registry, as is late comic legend Richard Pryor’s 1978 recording Wanted: Live in Concert. 

The original cast recording of the 1975 musical The Wiz, featuring Stephanie Mills, is also being preserved, as are several notable R&B singles: Wilson Pickett’s 1965 classic “In the Midnight Hour” and Sister Sledge’s 1979 smash “We Are Family.”

In addition, several recordings of the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” originally set to music in 1905, are being preserved.  According to the National Registry, the song has served as the “black national anthem” since it was adopted by the NAACP in 1919. 

Two different versions of it — a 1923 recording by Manhattan Harmony Four, and a 1990 all-star charity version credited to Melba Moore and Friends — are being included in the registry.  Moore’s version included Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Dionne Warwick and Bobby Brown.

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