Rock and roll singers of old, new, and fictional fame gathered last night at the National Mall to sing as part of the PBS “A Capitol Fourth” show for the nation’s 235th birthday.
Little Richard, 78, the “architect of rock and roll” and the first to introduce funk to a rock and roll beat, was accompanied onstage by cast members of “Million Dollar Quartet,” a new musical about the day in 1956 that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins sat down in a famed impromptu jam session that brought together the music legends for the first and only time.
But younger voices appeared on the mall last night, too, belting out all-American songs all their own. Josh Groban performed a song he penned about veterans at Walter Reed Hospital called “War at Home.” Matthew Morrison of the show “Glee” sang his original “Still Got Tonight,” and R&B singer Jordin Sparks sang “Tonight,” from the thoroughly American musical about race relations and immigration, “West Side Story.” Actor and comedian Steve Martin paid homage to Paul Revere with a song called “Me and Paul Revere,” which tells the story from the horse’s point of view.
Watch last night’s performances (and some oldies that inspired them) below.
Listen to the original Million Dollar Quartet sing “I Shall Not Be Moved” in 1956:
Watch Josh Groban sing his original “War at Home:”
Watch Matthew Morrison sing “Still Got Tonight” and Jordin Sparks sing West Side’s Story “Tonight”:
Steve Martin sings “Me and Paul Revere” alongside bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers: