by Jeff Taylor
Songs by Whitney Houston and Village People have been honored by the Library of Congress with induction into the National Recording Registry. Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” have thus been deemed culturally significant and deserving of preservation.
Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” was recorded for the soundtrack of her 1992 film debut The Bodyguard. It spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, setting a record.
Village People’s gay disco anthem “Y.M.C.A.” was released in 1978, the only single from the album Cruisin’. It hit number one in over a dozen countries and is largely understood to be a celebration of gay cruising culture.
It has become a cultural staple, sung and danced to at countless social gatherings.
“I had no idea when we wrote ‘Y.M.C.A.’ that it would become one of the most iconic songs in the world, and fixture at almost every wedding, birthday party, bar mitzvah and sporting event,” Village People singer Victor Willis, who wrote the lyrics, said in a statement.
The library said the song, by a group of men “purposely campy and extravagantly costumed” as a cop, leather-clad biker, cowboy, mechanic, soldier, and construction worker, was an “American cultural phenomenon.”
“It is as likely to be heard at a Midwestern prom as it is at New York City’s annual Gay Pride parade,” the library noted.
The complete list of this year’s inductees follows:
“Whispering” (single), Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra (1920)
“Protesta per Sacco e Vanzetti,” Compagnia Columbia; “Sacco e Vanzetti,” Raoul Romito (1927)
“La Chicharronera” (single), Narciso Martinez and Santiago Almeida (1936)
“Arch Oboler’s Plays” episode “The Bathysphere.” (Nov. 18, 1939)
“Me and My Chauffeur Blues” (single), Memphis Minnie (1941)
The 1951 National League tiebreaker: New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers — Russ Hodges, announcer (Oct. 3, 1951)
Puccini’s Tosca (album), Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Angelo Mercuriali, Tito Gobbi, Melchiorre Luise, Dario Caselli, Victor de Sabata (1953)
“Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (single), Allan Sherman (1963)
WGBH broadcast of the Boston Symphony on the day of the John F. Kennedy assassination, Boston Symphony Orchestra (1963)
Fiddler on the Roof (album), original Broadway cast (1964)
“Make the World Go Away” (single), Eddy Arnold (1965)
Hiromi Lorraine Sakata Collection of Afghan Traditional Music (1966-67; 1971-73)
“Wichita Lineman” (single), Glen Campbell (1968)
Dusty in Memphis (album), Dusty Springfield (1969)
Mister Rogers Sings 21 Favorite Songs From Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (album), Fred Rogers (1973)
Cheap Trick at Budokan (album), Cheap Trick (1978)
Holst: Suite No. 1 in E-Flat, Suite No. 2 in F / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Bach: Fantasia in G (Special Edition Audiophile Pressing album), Frederick Fennell and the Cleveland Symphonic Winds (1978)
“Y.M.C.A.” (single), Village People (1978)
A Feather on the Breath of God (album), Gothic Voices; Christopher Page, conductor; Hildegard von Bingen, composer (1982)
Private Dancer (album), Tina Turner (1984)
Ven Conmigo (album), Selena (1990)
The Chronic (album), Dr. Dre (1992)
“I Will Always Love You” (single), Whitney Houston (1992)
Concert in the Garden (album), Maria Schneider Orchestra (2004)
Percussion Concerto (album), Colin Currie (2008)
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