Heard on the Hill: Old-Timey Tunes

Posted May 10, 2011 at 6:22pm

The Library of Congress’ National Jukebox made its debut Tuesday, and it’s kind of like Pandora — for the early 20th century.

The library’s website, a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, makes available more than 10,000 sound recordings, and it turns out that those songs date from 1901 to 1925.

Tuesday’s performance at the National Jukebox unveiling by Harry Connick Jr. may have been a red herring for more modern music. But the song he performed, “I’m Wild About Harry,” was written in 1921, so it works.

Still, there’s plenty for music lovers, from opera arias to obscure classics such as “Down Where The Swanee River Flows” to works by American greats such as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

We’ll admit, we’re a little disappointed that Madonna and Simon and Garfunkel (both Sony artists at one point) aren’t on the LOC-approved list. But since they’ll regularly be adding to the jukebox, here’s hoping, right?