The 1968 original Broadway cast album of Hair will join the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, which annually inducts 25 audio recordings "worthy of preservation because of their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation's recorded sound heritage." Other new inductees include Cyndi Lauper's 1983 debut album She's So Unusual (including her hit singles "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time"), Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," and Earth, Wind and Fire's "September" (co-written by The Color Purple songwriter Allee Willis).
Written by Gerome Ragni, James Rado, and Galt MacDermot and directed by Tom O'Horgan, Hair brought rock and roll to Broadway when it opened in after already becoming a hit Off-Broadway. The work examines a group of '60s-era youth struggling for generational and personal identity, dealing with the Vietnam War, and exploring drugs and the sexual revolution. The score includes such songs as "Aquarius," "Easy to Be Hard," "Let the Sunshine In," and "Good Morning Starshine." After its debut four-year run of 1,750 performances, Hair enjoyed Broadway revivals in 1977 and 2009. The 2009 production, directed by Diane Paulus and starring Gavin Creel, won the Best Revival of a Musical Tony Award.
The work's political significance and the mainstream success of its score (with many numbers covered successfully by pop artists of the day) were cited as reasons for the album's selection for addition to the registry. The album itself was a best seller as well and was certified Gold (indicating sales in excess of 500,000) by the RIAA in 1969.
Previous theatre recordings to be inducted into the registry include Broadway cast albums of The Cradle Will Rock, Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Gypsy, South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, Kiss Me, Kate, and The Wiz, along with the film soundtrack of The Sound of Music.
Nominations are gathered from members of the public and the National Recording Registry Preservation Board, which is comprised of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound, and preservation. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayde later selects the 25 recordings to be inducted.