OK History: Radiohead’s second-best album to be preserved by Library of Congress


Earlier this month people around the world took a moment to celebrate Radiohead’s classic 1995 album The Bends for its 20th anniversary. Then, in fashion true and typical to history, 1997’s OK Computer comes along and overshadows it.

It was announced this morning that OK Computer, the British rock band’s third album, will be preserved in the United States Library of Congress. The announcement was made by the National Recording Registry, and other selections include the Doors’ 1967 debut, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez’ Joan Baez, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate and others. The full list can be viewed here.

More details from the presser:


Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2014 registry bring the total number of recordings on the registry to 425, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.

Curator Matt Barton says OK Computer stands up alongside classic releases by the Doors and Velvet Underground.

“I sort of see it as part of a certain ongoing phenomenon in rock music that maybe begins with the Velvet Underground but also The Doors, who are on the list this year,” he says, via the BBC. “Pop music is not entirely positive in its outlook, shall we say. I think we can say that OK Computer really sums a lot of that up.”


Listen to some of OK Computer’s finest moments (excluding “Karma Police,” which we’ve all heard enough of by now), down below. In related news, Radiohead’s Philip Selway will be performing at the Sinclair in Cambridge on August 7.