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Concerts from the Library of Congress: Pick of the Week

Week of March 19, 2021

This Pick of the Week celebrates two women featured in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress, Ella Fitzgerald and Donna Summer. Since 2002, the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) and members of the public have nominated recordings to the National Recording Registry. The depth and breadth of nominations received highlights the richness of the nations' audio legacy and underscores the importance of assuring the long-term preservation of that legacy for future generations.

Pick of the Week - March 19, 2021

"Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book" (album). Ella Fitzgerald. 1956 (2003 National Recording Registry)

Ella Fitzgerald, "The First Lady of Song," will be long appreciated for her beautiful voice, thoughtful lyric interpretation, imaginative scat singing, and impeccable enunciation. "The Cole Porter Song Book," a two-LP set, is the first of her many anthologies devoted to the pantheon of American popular song composers and lyricists. 

"I Feel Love" (single). Donna Summer. 1977 (2011 National Recording Registry)

Brian Eno famously declared Donna Summer's single "I Feel Love" would "change the sound of club music for the next 15 years." Summer wrote the song in collaboration with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Belotte, who felt the song should represent the "music of the future" and be entirely electronic. Consequently, they hired Robbie Wedel, who brought four Moog synthesizer cases to the session and produced nearly all the sounds on the record, including synthesized bass, drums, and cymbals. Particularly notable is the bass line, which Belotte described as "a giant's hammer on a wall." When the thunderous sound was combined with Summer's breathy and ethereal vocal, the cut, as Eno predicted, took the clubs by storm. Patrick Cowley, who made two dance remixes lasting 15 minutes and 8 minutes, helped the song win popularity in gay dance clubs. Consequently, it soon achieved the status of an anthem in the LGBT community.

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