by Stephen L. Betts – The Boot

Two iconic country music legends and a pair of recordings that have come to symbolize them have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. Loretta Lynn‘s autobiographical tale of growing up as a ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ which was released as a single in 1970, and Willie Nelson‘s 1975 concept album, ‘Red Headed Stranger,’ set in the Old West, are among the 25 new additions to the eighth annual National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. According to a statement from the Library, their inclusion “ensures that these cultural, artistic and historical recordings are always available to the American public.”

The 25 recordings chosen this year cover a time frame from 1913-1995 and also include work by a comedian (Bill Cosby), a late hip-hop legend (Tupac Shakur), and rock artists R.E.M and Patti Smith. Also among the honored: a 1949 recording of ‘The Little Engine That Could’ and Little Richard‘s 1955 rock ‘n’ roll classic, ‘Tutti Frutti.’

Each year, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), selects 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The Library identifies and preserves the best existing versions of the recordings on the registry and these recordings are then housed in the state-of-the-art facility on the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va. The selections for the 2009 registry bring the total number of recordings to 300.