Washington – Elton John was all in the process of singing in the White House before the world-famous pianist suspended rock music – he says – for good.
John was swinging by the South Lawn on Friday night for a show he called “A Night When Hope and the Rhyme of History,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes.
This will be John’s first concert at the White House since he presented with Stevie Wonder at a state dinner in 1998 in honor of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At the age of 75, John is on a farewell tour after performing for over 50 years.
A giant outdoor tent and platform were set up in the White House lawn for the display. The guest list of 2,000 people includes teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBT advocates, as well as civil rights advocate Robbie Bridges and Jane White Gender, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. The President is expected to make these statements.
The offer came together after A+E Networks and History Channel, which are footing the bill, asked the White House and John to be willing to honor “everyday history makers” as well as John himself, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke to the AP on the condition. Anonymity to discuss internal planning.
It’s not clear if the show will air after the live performance, though eager viewers can tune in to the White House livestream to catch the president’s remarks, at least. John has worked with A+E in the past on his global HIV/AIDS charity, the Elton John Foundation, which has raised more than $525 million to fight the virus worldwide.
The History Channel is hosting a new episode of its series “HistoryTalks” in Washington on Saturday, and John will be in town playing Nationals Park as part of his latest tour. The final stop of the North American Farewell Series opened in Philadelphia in July.
The president and first lady are big fans. In his 2017 memoir, Biden wrote of singing “Crocodile Rock” to his two boys as he drove them to school, and again later to his son Beau before he died of cancer at age 46.
“She started softly singing Beau’s lyrics, so we could just hear her,” Biden wrote. “Boo didn’t open his eyes, but I could see through my tears that he was smiling.”
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, was a fan of John as well. He tried to get John to perform at his 2017 inauguration, but John refused, saying he didn’t think it was appropriate for a Briton to play in the swearing-in of an American president.
The White House insisted that Friday’s show was not an attempt to manipulate Trump, who has praised John in his books and often featured John’s music — including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer” — in his pre-gather playlists over the years. Trump has dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” for his record of missile tests.
Sir Elton – He was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II He has sold over 300 million records worldwide, played over 4,000 shows in 80 countries and recorded one of the best-selling singles of all time, a reworking of 1997’s “Candle in the Wind” glorifying Princess Diana, which sold 33 million Copy.
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