- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Jagger, King give White House the blues
Question of the Day
The president just couldn't say no: Mick Jagger held out a mic almost by way of command, and soon President Obama was belting out the blues with the best of them.
The East Room of the White House was transformed into an intimate blues club on Tuesday night for a concert featuring blues all-stars of the past, present and future - and the president himself.
The surprise performance by Mr. Obama came at the end of the playlist when the blues ensemble was singing "Sweet Home Chicago," the blues anthem of Mr. Obama's hometown.
Buddy Guy prodded the president, saying he'd heard that the president sang part of an Al Green tune recently, and adding, "You gotta keep it up."
Then Mr. Jagger handed over the mic, and Mr. Obama seemed compelled to comply.
"Come on, baby, don't you want to go," the president sang out twice, handing off the mic to B.B. King momentarily, and then taking it back to tack on "Sweet Home Chicago" at the end.
That was how Mr. Obama ended the night.
This was how he began it: Mr. Obama said sometimes there are downsides to being the president. You can't just go for a walk, for example.
And then there are the times that more than make up for all those frustrations, he said, like Tuesday night, when Mr. Jagger, Mr. King, Jeff Beck and other musical giants came by the house to sing the blues.
"I guess things even out a little bit," Mr. Obama joked at the start of a rollicking East Room concert that was electrified by Mr. Jagger and the rest.
"This music speaks to something universal," Mr. Obama declared. "No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note."
Mr. King, 86, arrived in a wheelchair but rose tall to kick off the night with a raucous "Let the Good Times Roll," quickly joined by other members of the ensemble. And he followed with "The Thrill is Gone."
From there, Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, were swaying in their seats and singing along to an all-hits playlist including "St. James Infirmary" and "Let Me Love You."
Mr. Beck slowed things down with an instrumental "Brush With the Blues," as anticipation built for the arrival of Mr. Jagger, who did not disappoint.
The longtime Rolling Stones frontman delivered on "I Can't Turn You Loose" and then teamed up with Mr. Beck on "Commit a Crime." Mr. Jagger got the president and his wife up out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with "Miss You," performed with Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi.
Mr. Obama was clearly savoring the moment, closing his eyes at times and nodding his head as he lip-synced the words.
The president rose at the end to introduce the ensemble as the "White House Blues All-Stars" for the final song of the night, "Sweet Home Chicago."
"For Michelle and me," the president said, "there's no blues like the song our artists have chosen to close with - the blues from our hometown."
With that, the ensemble wrapped up the evening with "Sweet Home Chicago." And then Mr. Jagger handed off the mic to Mr. Obama for his presidential coda.
In advance of the concert, Grammy winner Keb Mo had joked during a rehearsal break that Mr. Obama himself would perform, and there could even be a record in the works. He joked that Mr. Obama's record would be called, "After the second term, now I can finally get my groove on."
Maybe he wasn't joking after all.
The lineup for Tuesday's concert spanned multiple generations, from legends such as Mr. King and Mr. Guy to young faces such as 26-year-old Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Gary Clark Jr., whose style blends hip-hop, contemporary soul and indie rock. Also performing were Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, with actress Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T. Jones as music director and bandleader.
The blues concert will be part of the "In Performance at the White House" series that airs on PBS. This one, designed to recognize Black History Month, will be broadcast Monday on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network.
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Embryonic stem cell research falls out of favor as scientists go ethical
- EDITORIAL: Our ideological president
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!