Colette’s Corner: First Music or Music First?!?

19 Jan


Sinatra.  Dylan.  The Fugees.

All can be found on President Obama’s iPod.  Much like his mixed heritage and diverse political ideals, Barack Obama appears to have broad musical tastes.

The initial Inauguration event on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial featured Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Usher, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce’, U2, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Renee’ Fleming, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen,, Josh Groban and Bettye LaVette.  Speaking of Bettye LaVette, she’s becoming a fixture in DC, having recently performed at the Lincoln Center Honors in homage to The Who.

I found her performance of Change Gone Come with Bon Jovi to be the highlight of Sunday’s event and likely the most appropriate for the occasion.  Somewhere Sam Cooke is smiling…

….and the beat goes on.  Mr. Obama’s inauguration events will include the Queen of Soul, herself, Ms. Aretha Franklin along with The Dead, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, and Itzak Perlman will be a part of other inauguration festivities.

Colette chimes in with her own assessment of the First Music on this very historic day: 

Blue vs. red, left vs. right — no matter what political rivalries exist in this nation,  great music is something Americans of every stripe can share and take joy in.

Our new president is, it so happens, a music lover with wide-ranging tastes  which he revealed to Rolling Stone Magazine, Blender Magazine and other musical rags.   He listens to a lot of different artists, from jazzmen to rappers, John Coltrane to The Rolling Stones to Jay-Z.  And he adores Stevie Wonder, his wife’s favorite artist and a major supporter of campaign whose song “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” became Obama’s campaign anthem.

Here is Stevie Wonder — live at the 1008 Democratic National Convention, singing the beautiful song “Fear Can’t Put Dreams to Sleep” with Take 6, followed by Obama’s campaign theme song, “Signed, Sealed Delivered”  (starts at 7:00, when he says, “I gotta do this!” ).  One of Obama’s very favorite artists, and his wife’s musical god:

  — Stevie Wonder at the DNC 

Some presidents are more interested in music than others.  Pres. Clinton, for instance, had a big jazz summit at the White House.  And the first Pres. George Bush loved country music.  Kennedy appreciated classical music, and of course the Broadway musical “Camelot.”  From his interviews on the subject, Obama seems to be an ardent and knowledgeable pop fan, and he had a lot of top  musicians (from James Taylor & Bruce Springsteen, to Will.I.Am and John Legend) actively backing him with benefit concerts and campaign appearances.

Some of the songs that are Obama favorites, according to Blender, are: 

   Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”  (live)

  Bob Dylan  “Maggie’s Farm”  (from Newport FOlk Festival, 1965)

  — Bruce Springsteen – “I’m on Fire” (Obama says he calls Bruce “The Boss”)

 –   The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”  (live in the 1960s)

  —  Nina Simone —  “Sinnerman”

  —   Frank Sinatra — “You’d Be So Easy to Love

Obama loves the Queen of Soul, and when he gave a speech in Detroit he began by singing a few bars of this song:

  — Aretha Franklin – “Chain of Fools”  (live) 

— “Think” (live) —  Another Aretha hit, which Obama says is on his iPod.

Thanks, Colette, for the submission.  I’ll conclude this post with the stirring rendition of Shower the People, performed at the Lincoln Memorial event by James Taylor, Jennifer Nettles and John Legend.

 “….I think it’s true what they say about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease”


Posted by on January 19, 2009 in colette's corner, james taylor, Obama


4 responses to “Colette’s Corner: First Music or Music First?!?

  1. shrewspeaks

    January 19, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    The first dance…Etta James, AT LAST…nice.

  2. shrewspeaks

    January 20, 2009 at 8:01 am

    PS- Jon Bon Jovi has been such a fixture in my state that I have always tended to tune out when Bon Jovi is blasted screaming from some stereo, but hearing him sing Sam Cooke really made me say…dang the guy can sing.

  3. colette

    January 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Tried to post something yesterday but no luck! Maybe this will stick.

    I just adored that Bettye Lavette duo with Bon Jovi, and it’s so wonderful seeing her get her due. And thanks MM for the kennedy center link — wow! I can’t stand that show anymore because they often have the lamest commercial artists saluting great masters. But did you see how Pete Townsend, Roger Daltry and Barbra Streisand were digging Betty? She turns every song into an amazing opera.

    I also got a kick out of watching some of the gazillion marching bands in Obama’s parade yesterday, including the one that did a very swingin’ march version of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” And it was cute that the teenybop idols The Jones Brothers dropped in on the children’s party at the White House. I think Sasha and Melia Obama are going to be the envy of many a kid…….


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