President Obama sang a few lines from “Sweet Home Chicago” with blues greats B.B. King and Buddy Guy Tuesday night during a performance at the White House. Post music critic Chris Richards asked, “Had the White House ever felt more like a roadhouse” and went on to describe the event.
It was the latest (also: the loudest, wildest, most dynamic, most exciting) in a series of semi-regular concerts hosted by first lady Michelle Obama celebrating the American songbook.
Previous performances in the series have saluted the music of the civil rights era, Motown and Broadway, as well as jazz, country (twice), classical and Latin music. Now, to mark Black History Month, the Obamas honored the blues, arguably the most influential of any American musical genre.
Performers included King, Guy, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck. Jagger tweeted about his tour of the White House and posted a pair of photos, writes reporter David Nakamura.
The Rolling Stones’ frontman posted a message stating that he “had first rehearsal at #whitehouse today and had a lovely tour of the West Wing.” In another message, he wrote that Obama listened to a few of the practice tunes and appeared “really relaxed and happy.”
In the Style blog, Maura Judkis asks who the president should sing with next and points out the need to be careful when selecting a song.
He also has to consider the message of the lyrics of whatever he sings — for example, though the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and Marvin Gaye’s ”What’s Going On” are two of the best Motown songs of all time, they wouldn’t be appropriate for a politician seeking reelection. He could avoid controversy by sticking to love songs, and serenading Michelle.