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.”
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
You can download songs for free and listen to streaming music.
Ever wonder what people were dancing and singing to during the “Roaring 20’s” or the Jazz Age? Now you can listen to popular music from the early 1900s on the Library of Congress’ National Jukebox.
Currently the National Jukebox contains over 10,000 clips and more are being added regularly.
You can listen to the recordings for free and experiment with some of the extra features the jukebox offers, such as:
- Playlisting: Just like your MP3 player, you can create a playlist of your favorite recordings. The Library of Congress even shows you how to make one, save it and share with your friends and family.
- Glossary of Terms: As most of history shows us, people spoke in a different way a hundred years ago. To learn some common terms you’ll hear throughout the National Jukebox, such as what “matrix” and “master” refer to, check out the Glossary of National Jukebox Terms.
- Technology: It took a lot of people and technology to digitize over 10,000 recordings for the public to listen to online. To find out how it was made, see The Making of the National Jukebox.
Check out the National Jukebox to experience historical music.