Radiohead‘s classic 1997 album OK Computer has been designated for preservation by the Library of Congress, according to Consequence Of Sound. Each year, the Library archives 25 recordings that are deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” to the musical canon. Along with OK Computer, some of this year’s other selections include Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, The Doors’ 1967 self-titled debut, and Joan Baez’s eponymous 1960 debut.
Library of Congress curator Matt Barton explained why OK Computer was chosen for preservation, saying, “I see it as part of a certain ongoing phenomenon in rock music that maybe begins withThe Velvet Underground but also The Doors, who are on the registry this year. 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.”
Some 425 albums and songs have been archived since 2002, including U2’s The Joshua Tree, Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah”, the theme song to Shaft, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon,Simon And Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”
Radiohead recorded OK Computer in England in late 1996 and early 1997. It was the band’s first self-produced album and marked a shift away from the band’s earlier Britpop style to a more somber and atmospheric sound.
The band’s label, Capitol Records, thought the record would not be a commercial success, but it hit Number One on the British chart and reached Number 21 on the U.S. sales chart, a career high for the group at that point.
The disc also yielded a Top 15 single at Modern Rock radio with “Karma Police.”
Since its release, OK Computer has regularly appeared on lists of the greatest albums of the 1990s, while Rolling Stone placed it at Number 162 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.