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The Sounds of America: Lily Tomlin, Jefferson Airplane, and Bobby McFerrin

For the holiday, we revisit some of your favorite features from our series “The Sounds of America.” 

Every year, in partnership with the Library of Congress, 1A profiles some of the newest inductees into the National Recording Registry. Think of it as the country’s audio “hall of fame.” 

Today, three deep dives.

We hear aboutan album considered to be one of the most influential works of psychedelic rock and the ’60s counterculture, “Surrealistic Pillow” by Jefferson Airplane.

Later, singer Bobby McFerrin and how he got to make a record that sounds as happy now as it did when it was first released in 1988.

But we start a phone call.Ernestine the Telephone Operator as played by Lily Tomlin is a character that endures.

The role originated on the TV comedy series “Laugh-In” in 1969. Tomlin played Ernestine, a sharp-tongued, power-crazed telephone company employee.

Her 1971 album, “This Is a Recording,” was picked this year to enter the National Recording Registry. We hear from Tomlin, writer Anna Deavere Smith, professor and comedy producer Caty Borum, and actor and comedian Sandra Bernhard.

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

Rupert Allman