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Elton John performs at the White House for the first time since 1998

Elton John said Friday that he had played some beautiful venues, but the stage in front of the White House, under a huge marquee on a perfect fall night, “is probably the icing on the cake.”

then it started the show with “Your song”, his first great international success.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden welcomed the 75-year-old singer and spoke about his activism, the power of his music and his kindness in every way. The event was planned and paid for by A+E and the History Channel.

“Seamus Heaney once wrote, and I quote: ‘Once in a lifetime, the long-awaited tidal wave of justice may arise, and hope and history rhyme,'” Biden said. “Throughout his incredible career, Sir Elton John has been that tidal wave, a tidal wave to help people get up and make hope and history rhyme.”

At the end of the show, Mr. Biden surprised John with the National Humanities Medal, for his songbook and his long legacy of advocacy.

With tears in his eyes, John said he was “stunned and humbled.”

Elton John's White House
British singer Elton John gets emotional as he is awarded the National Humanities Medal by US President Joe Biden at the end of “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme” at the White House in Washington, DC on September 23 2022, where the singer performed.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images


The 2,000-strong guest list included teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBTQ advocates, as well as former first lady Laura Bush, civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges, education activist Malala Yousafzai and Jeanne White-Ginder, activist against AIDS and mother of Ryan White, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1990.

The night, in fact, was called “A night when hope and history rhyme”, in reference to the poem that Biden quoted in the Irish newspaper Heaney.

It was John’s first White House concert since he performed with Stevie Wonder at a 1998 state dinner honoring British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At 75, John is on a farewell tour after performing for more than 50 years.

The show was formed after A+E Networks and the History Channel, which footed the bill, asked the White House and John if they would be willing to collaborate to honor “everyday history makers” as well as John himself, according to people. familiar with the discussions he spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.

Elton John
British singer Elton John performs at the White House in Washington, DC on September 23, 2022.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images


John will be in town on Saturday playing Nationals Park as part of his final tour. He opened the final leg of his North American farewell series in Philadelphia in July.

The president and the first lady are big fans. Biden wrote in a 2017 memoir about singing “Crocodile Rock” to her two young sons as she drove them to school, and then to her son Ella’s Beau before he died of cancer at age 46.

“I started singing the lyrics to Beau, softly, so only the two of us could hear it,” Biden wrote. “Beau didn’t open his eyes, but I could see through my own tears that he was smiling.”

John played the song on Friday and said someone told him that Mr. Biden used to sing it.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, was also a fan of John. 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 at the swearing-in of an American president.

The White House insisted Friday’s show was not an effort to troll Trump, who has praised John in his books and often included his music, including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer,” on his playlists. pre-rally over the years. Trump dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man” because of his missile-testing record.

John performed “Tiny Dancer” on Friday, to thunderous applause.

Sir Elton, who was knighted in 1998 Queen Elizabeth II, sold more than 300 million records worldwide, played more than 4,000 shows in 80 countries, and recorded one of the best-selling singles of all time, her 1997 reworking of “Candle In The Wind ” to praise Princess Diana, which sold 33 million copies.

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