NWA, Richard Pryor and 'The Wiz' among latest Library of Congress recording preservations

Deena Zaru and Brenna Williams, CNN | 3/31/2017, 11:13 a.m.
The Library of Congress will preserve the recordings of 25 additional artists and personalities in the National Recording Registry, including ...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Library of Congress will preserve the recordings of 25 additional artists and personalities in the National Recording Registry, including hip-hop group NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" album, Judy Garland's single, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" album and Barbra Streisand's 1964 single, "People."

"The Registry additions each year are always an eclectic mix, which is appropriate given that it should mirror our richly diverse and ever-changing recorded sound heritage," Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden told CNN Wednesday, following the release of the 2016 list. "These works stand the test of time and reflect the many accomplishments, struggles and values comprising the American puzzle."

The Library of Congress began the registry in 2002, and since then, 475 titles -- single songs or entire albums -- were named to the list. While most of the list is made up of music recordings, it also includes notable recordings of popular moments in history.

Here's a look at the latest 25 titles that will be preserved by the library:

  1. "Straight Outta Compton," (album) N.W.A. (1988)

While hip-hop artists have been recognized by the library in the past, the induction of NWA is particularly notable considering the monumental pushback levied against the group in the late 1980s by activists and politicians who were outraged when the now-legendary rappers broke into the American mainstream.

"NWA helped create a new type of music that reflected the experiences of the artists who produced it, whose voices had been less heard in the world of hip-hop but especially in the broader context of America at that time," Hayden said. "So it changed the whole genre of hip-hop and people's perception of it. All of the items on the registry reflect their times in some way, and this is no exception."

NWA -- which was made up of Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and MC Ren --released its debut album, "Straight Outta Compton" in 1988, sparking outrage from many, most notably the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), whose campaign against the group and rock stars sparked a nationwide debate about the use of profanity.

"Straight Outta Compton" is a bold critique of American society that chronicles the struggles of inner-city life and includes songs like "Straight Outta Compton," "Gangsta Gangsta" and "F* the Police," which shone an early spotlight on police brutality.

Other hip-hop titles recognized by the registry in the past include Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's "The Message," Public Enemy's "Fear of a Black Planet," Tupac Shakur's "Dear Mama," De La Soul's "3 Feet High & Rising, Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and Lauryn Hill for her 1997 album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."

  1. "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," David Bowie, (1972)

The concept album from the British pop icon tells the story of fictitious pop star Ziggy Stardust, Bowie's alter ego. At the time of its release, Rolling Stone called the album his "most thematically ambitious, musically coherent album." Since then, internet users have posited the idea that Bowie's album predicted the rise of rapper Kanye West several decades later. Bowie died in 2016 at 69.