Music by Janet Jackson, Labelle, Kool & the Gang and More Added to National Recording Registry

Music by Janet Jackson, Labelle, Kool & the Gang and More Added to National Recording Registry


The Library of Congress’ National Registry has just gotten larger. Pioneering recorded music by Janet Jackson, Labelle, and Kool & the Gang have been added to the exclusive database of historical titles that have been “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Jackson’s path-breaking 1989 album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 is among the 25 chosen recordings preserved into the class of 2020. It is one of the 11 albums inducted into the registry this year. 

On the conceptual LP, the global phenom confronted social challenges with grave concern, breaking records and acquiring multi-platinum status on many different fronts. 

“We wanted Rhythm Nation to really communicate empowerment. It was making an observation, but it was also a call to action. Janet’s purpose was to lead people and do it through music, which I think is the ultimate uniter of people,” said legendary songwriter and producer Jimmy Jam.  

He added, “Where we’re at in society today, the lyrics of ‘Rhythm Nation’ and ‘State of the World’ — some of those resonate just as powerfully, if not more so, as a narrative of what’s happening in society. There’s no expiration date on great music.”

Joining the registry for their singles is Labelle and Kool & the Gang. The former outlandish, all-female group, fronted by Grammy winner Patti LaBelle, will have their 1974 smash hit “Lady Marmalade” enlisted into the coveted collection. 

Meanwhile, Kool & the Gang’s 1980 classic “Celebration” is also making the list. The song, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, appeared on their album Celebrate! 

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in a statement.

“We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

Each year since 2002, Hayden, collaborates with the National Recording Preservation Board, to carefully select titles for the next yearbook. The total of titles on the registry is now 575.

See the complete list here.