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Here’s another site that lets you walk in (well, dance in) your ancestors’ shoes—this
one, by listening to the songs they loved.
The Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment created the National
Jukebox website with 10,000-plus rare historic sound recordings produced in the
United States from 1901 and 1925.
At the press conference unveiling the site, musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. performed
“I’m Just Wild About Harry” (wish I could’ve been at that press conference!). You
can listen to composer Eubie Blake’s version in the National Jukebox.
Search the recordings or browse by genre, artist, target audience (where you can click
to the music of Germans, Swedes, Poles, Italians, Jews and other ethnic groups). Listen
to recordings on a streaming-only basis. You also can access label images, record-catalog
illustrations and artist bios, and create your own playlists.
“This collection includes popular music, dance music, opera, early jazz, famous speeches,
poetry and humor. It is what our grandparents and great-grandparents listened to,
danced to, sang along with,” says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
The site represents the largest collection of such historical recordings made publicly
available online for study and appreciation. In its agreement with Sony, the Library
of Congress gets usage rights to Sony Music’s entire pre-1925 catalog.
I enjoyed George Gershwin’s
“Rhapsody in Blue.” What tunes are you listening to in the National Jukebox?