So happy you’ve joined us! Each year, the Library of Congress adds a list of top recordings to its National Recording Registry, and The Sounds Of America radio series devotes an episode to each of the recordings selected for preservation that year. Recently I was interviewed for an episode of The Sounds Of America radio series on National Public Radio, in order to provide some background and musical context to one of the latest additions to the National Recording Registry – the famous theme to the Super Mario Bros. video game! This is awesome news for game composers and game music fans. The Super Mario Bros. theme music is now the first game music composition preserved for posterity in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. Each year, the National Recording Registry selects twenty five recordings that represent “the richness of the nation’s audio legacy.” The expert preservationists at the National Recording Registry works to ensure “the long-term preservation of that legacy for future generations.”
As the author of the book A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, I was able to discuss the historical significance of the Super Mario Bros. theme music as a seminal work in the field of game music composition. I had previously given a lecture at the Library of Congress about the nature of video game music (that lecture is recorded and preserved in the Library’s Films & Videos Collection) and this experience gave me further insight to the importance of the preservation efforts undertaken by the Library of Congress. I could also discuss the Super Mario Bros. theme music from the perspective of a musician who had recorded one of the many cover versions of this world-famous tune. I recorded my version for the tribute album, “Best of the Best: A Tribute to Game Music.” All of this gave me a unique perspective on this historically-significant musical composition, and I was honored to discuss it during the interview with The Sounds Of America radio show. In addition to my own interview, the show includes interviews with author Jeff Ryan (How Nintendo Conquered America), Super Mario Bros. actor Charles Martinet, and the Super Mario Bros. composer himself, Koji Kondo! You can listen to the entire show here:
I thought it might be useful to include the transcript of my entire interview in this article. The transcript also includes my own cover version of the track (which you’ll find in the section discussing the popularity of cover versions). But first, let’s listen to the original Super Mario Bros. Theme, and then dive into the transcript!