Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
At first listen, the Mardi Gras Indian album by the Wild Tchoupitoulas and “You Are My Sunshine,” the song popularized by former Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis, might not appear to have much in common, other than Louisiana roots. But both songs have been added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, as historically and culturally significant songs.
Other songs to make the list unveiled Thursday include the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, a 1931 Will Rogers broadcast and recordings from Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin's Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, Chubby Checker and The Ramones.
Click here for the full list.
"You Are My Sunshine" was written and recorded by Davis in 1940 and used in his 1944 campaign for governor, according to the Library of Congress.
“It subsequently became one of the most popular country music songs of all time and has been recorded by artists in the U.S. and abroad in many styles,” says the entry in the National Recording Registry. "Davis’s recording, featuring guitar, steel guitar, trumpet, clarinet, bass, and piano, added jazz styling to the simple tune.”
The Library of Congress also notes that while Davis’ name is listed on sheet music as the co-composer, at least three recordings of the song preceded Davis’, so the song’s authorship is still the subject of some dispute. “You Are My Sunshine” became the official song of Louisiana in 1977. Davis died in 2000 at the age of 101.
The 1976 Wild Tchoupitoulas album, produced by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint, is hailed by the National Recording Registry as a “lively and unbelievably rhythmic funk album,” having had “an enormous influence on jazz, rock and dance music.”
“While this undeniably is a party record, it is also rooted in the deepest currents of African-American musical culture and history.”
The album, featuring iconic songs “Hey Pocky A-Way” and “Indian Red,” was recorded with the help of The Meters, which at the time included George Porter Jr. and Art and Cyril Neville. Aaron Neville was also participated in the album. The Wild Tchoupitoulas was originally a Mardi Gras Indian group formed in the early 1970s by George Landry, also called Big Chief Jolly, an uncle of the Neville Brothers.
“The Meters and the other Nevilles formed the backing group for the Wild Tchoupitoulas album and with Landry and the other Wild Tchoupitoulas, they celebrated this century-old tradition and broke new ground at the same time.”
Other New Orleans and Louisiana artists added to the National Recording Registry in previous years include Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, King Oliver and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.