It's a small class, after all. "It's a Small World" is one of 25 recordings selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. A 1964 recording of the iconic earworm, written by Walt Disney collaborators the Sherman Brothers and performed by The Disneyland Boys Choir, will be archived as part of the 2022 class inducting "audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation's recorded sound heritage."
"The National Recording Registry reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation's history and culture through recorded sound," Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. "The national library is proud to help preserve these recordings, and we welcome the public's input. We received about 1,000 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry."
“It’s a Small World” was first heard on a Disneyland Pavilion ride at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, the theme of which was “Peace Through Understanding.” The ride was later reconstructed at Disneyland, then recreated at other Disney parks worldwide — song included. #NatRecRegistry pic.twitter.com/0UMdjlnAsc— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) April 13, 2022
Originally written for the "PEPSI Presents Walt Disney's 'It's a Small World' – a Salute to UNICEF and the World's Children" pavilion ride for the 1964 World's Fair in New York City, "It's a Small World" is best known as the soundtrack to the attraction of the same name at the original Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and other Disney theme parks around the world.
In 2014, TIME reported "It's a Small World" is the most-played song in music history at 50 million plays.
"Like many songs, 'It's A Small World' has a verse and a chorus. One thing which makes this song particularly 'catchy' is that the verse and chorus work in counterpoint to each other," Robert Sherman Jr. once explained to SongFacts. "This means that you can play the same chords over and over again, but with different melodies. The repetitive, yet varied pattern tricks your mind into absorbing the work without it becoming tiresome to your ear." Playfully, Sherman added: "There are many who would disagree with this, however!"
Other inductees in the class of 2022 include (in chronological order):
- "Harlem Strut" — James P. Johnson (1921)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt: Complete Presidential Speeches (1933-1945)
- "Walking the Floor Over You" — Ernest Tubb (1941) (single)
- "On a Note of Triumph" (May 8, 1945)
- "Jesus Gave Me Water" — The Soul Stirrers (1950) (single)
- "Ellington at Newport" — Duke Ellington (1956) (album)
- "We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite" — Max Roach (1960) (album)
- "The Christmas Song" — Nat King Cole (1961) (single)
- "Tonight's the Night" — The Shirelles (1961) (album)
- "Moon River" — Andy Williams (1962) (single)
- "In C" — Terry Riley (1968) (album)
- "It's a Small World" — The Disneyland Boys Choir (1964) (single)
- "Reach Out, I'll Be There" — The Four Tops (1966) (single)
- Hank Aaron's 715th Career Home Run (April 8, 1974)
- "Bohemian Rhapsody" — Queen (1975) (single)
- "Don't Stop Believin'" — Journey (1981) (single)
- "Canciones de Mi Padre" — Linda Ronstadt (1987) (album)
- "Nick of Time" — Bonnie Raitt (1989) (album)
- "The Low End Theory" — A Tribe Called Quest (1991) (album)
- "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" — Wu-Tang Clan (1993) (album)
- "Buena Vista Social Club" (1997) (album)
- "Livin' La Vida Loca" — Ricky Martin (1999) (single)
- "Songs in A Minor" — Alicia Keys (2001) (album)
- WNYC broadcasts for the day of 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001)
- "WTF with Marc Maron" (Guest: Robin Williams) (April 26, 2010)
Disney Parks previously announced the iconic facade of the "It's a Small World" attraction will be enchanted by Disney's Encanto with projection and lighting effects for a limited time. The Main Street Electrical Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a small touch of "It's a Small World" when the beloved parade returns to the Disneyland Resort on April 22.