News From Our Blog

Image description: Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn, Jr., an American classic pianist and cultural hero of the Cold War died on Wednesday.

In these animated images, Cliburn is shown winning one of the toughest and most prestigious music competitions, the Tchaikovsky Competition, in Russia — a rare feat by an American-born and American-trained musician.

Images from the National Archives.

Image description: The Archivist of the United States recently posted this story about patents that you may not know:

You may think that the National Archives is an unlikely place to learn the secrets of Michael Jackson’s dance moves — but you’re wrong!
Within Record Group 241, Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, patent 5,255,452 gives us the secrets behind one move in particular — Michael’s “lean” as done in the music video, “Smooth Criminal.”

Learn more about Michael Jackson’s patent for “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.”

Image description: The Archivist of the United States recently posted this story about patents that you may not know:

You may think that the National Archives is an unlikely place to learn the secrets of Michael Jackson’s dance moves — but you’re wrong!

Within Record Group 241, Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, patent 5,255,452 gives us the secrets behind one move in particular — Michael’s “lean” as done in the music video, “Smooth Criminal.”

Learn more about Michael Jackson’s patent for “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.”

25 New Recordings Added to National Recording Registry

Donna Summer’s ground breaking all-electronic 1977 hit, the creative wordplay of the Sugarhill Gang, the sounds of Native American culture and the voices of former slaves are among the sound recordings selected for induction into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. The Registry annually adds recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and preserves them for future generations.

Here’s a preview of what was added, in reverse chronological order:

25. “Purple Rain,” Prince and the Revolution (1984)
24. “Rapper’s Delight,” Sugarhill Gang (1979)
23. “I Feel Love,” Donna Summer (1977)
22. Barton Hall concert by the Grateful Dead (May 8, 1977)
21. “Mothership Connection,” Parliament (1975)
20. “Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly Parton (1971)
19. “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Vince Guaraldi Trio (1970)
18. “The Continental Harmony: Music of William Billings,” Gregg Smith Singers (1969)
17. “Forever Changes,” Love (1967)
16. “Green Onions,” Booker T. & the M.G.’s (1962)
15. “Bo Diddley” and “I’m a Man,” Bo Diddley (1955)
14. “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1954, 1958)
13. “Let’s Go Out to the Programs,” The Dixie Hummingbirds (1953)
12. “I Can Hear It Now,” Fred W. Friendly and Edward R. Murrow (1948)
11. “Hula Medley,” Gabby Pahinui (1947)
10. “The Indians for Indians Hour” (March 25, 1947)
9. International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Hottest Women’s Band of the 1940s (1944-1946)
8. Debut performance with the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (Nov. 14, 1943)
7. “Artistry in Rhythm,” Stan Kenton & and his Orchestra (1943)
6. “Fascinating Rhythm,” Sol Hoopii and his Novelty Five (1938)
5. “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” Patsy Montana (1935)
4. “Voices from the Days of Slavery,” Various speakers (1932-1941 interviews; 2002 compilation)
3. “Ten Cents a Dance,” Ruth Etting (1930)
2. “Come Down Ma Evenin’ Star,” Lillian Russell (1912)
1. Edison Talking Doll cylinder (1888)

Read about all of the new entries and hear an audio montage.

Image description: April is Jazz Appreciation Month. These photos of celebrated jazz artists were taken during the “golden age” of jazz, between 1938 and 1947, primarily in New York City and Washington, D.C. by William P. Gottlieb. 

The top left photo is of Dardanelle, a female percussionist. Next to it is a portrait of Duke Ellington.

The bottom left photo is of Sidney Bechet, Freddie Moore, and Lloyd Phillips playing at Jimmy Ryan’s club. The bottom right photo is of Ella Fitzgerald.

Learn more about jazz music.

Photos from the William P. Gottlieb Collection at the Library of Congress

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