WASHINGTON (AP) — Celebrities have returned to the White House after a pop culture backlash during the Trump years, when virtually everyone considered high-powered refused to appear.
Rocking chair Elton John brings his farewell tour to the South Lawn On Friday, the White House announced Tuesday, a week after singer James Taylor and hosts Jonathan and Drew Scott, of HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” helped celebrate a new law on public health and climate change.
John is among the many artists who have refused to perform in front of then-President Donald Trump.
Taylor sang and strummed his guitar to open last week’s event while the Scotts were among hundreds of people in the audience. They also joined fellow gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, to shoot the film a gorgeous video promoting the provisions of the Climate Change Act.
Since taking office during a pandemic that has put too much of the community on pause, Biden, 79, has also opened the White House to teenage singer Olivia Rodrigoto talk about youth and vaccination against COVID-19 as well South Korean boy band BTS, to discuss the inclusion and representation of Asia.
Last year, the Democratic president resumed the tradition of visiting the White House in person reception for artists receiving Kennedy Center Honors.
Actor Jennifer Garner accompanied First Lady Jill Biden in West Virginia last year to visit a school-based COVID-19 vaccination site in Charleston. Garner also hosted a White House holiday special, “In Performance,” for PBS.
John’s concert is called “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that Biden often quotes. The show is part of a collaboration with A+E Networks and the History Channel that “will celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, celebrate the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the everyday history makers in the audience.” The White House said. Guests will include teachers, medical professionals, students, LGBTQ+ supporters and others.
John also has a concert scheduled for Saturday night at Nationals Park in Washington as part of a the tour concludes his 50-year career. He opened the final leg of the North American farewell series in Philadelphia in July.
The 75-year-old British singer is among celebrities who have avoided Trump in the White House since the Republican’s 2017 inauguration. John turned down an invitation to speak at Trump’s inauguration, saying he did not think it was appropriate for someone of British descent to speak at the inauguration of the US president.
Trump has included John’s high praise in several of his books and has performed John’s songs at his presidential rallies, including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer.” Trump had too The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, was called “Rocket Man” because of Kim’s habit of testing missiles.
Country singers Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood were among the more prominent artists who came forward to help Trump take office. Bigger names from other genres declined or were not considered.
Hollywood has always leaned heavily toward democracy.
Singers Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks performed at Democrat Biden’s inauguration.
Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé were among the celebrities who performed in a big show of force for Democrat Barack Obama, from fundraisers for his two inaugurations to speeches at the White House or on the grounds.
They disappeared under Trump, but are coming back for Biden.
Biden has banked on celebrities during his 2020 presidential campaignwhen personal communication was largely suspended due to the coronavirus.
A parade of movie and TV stars, pop icons and sports greats have gathered to help Biden raise money and energize supporters.
Sir Elton – who was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II – has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, played more than 4,000 concerts in 80 countries and recorded one of the best-selling singles of all time, his remix of ‘Candle In The » in 1997. Wind’ to praise Princess Diana, which sold 33 million copies.
He scored more than 70 Top 40 hits, including nine No. 1s, and released seven No. 1 albums in the 3 1/2 years from 1972 to 1975, pacing only the Beatles. John has five Grammy Awards, a Tony Award for Aida, and an Academy Award for songs from The Lion King and Rocketman.
He has played at the White House in the past.
John and Stevie Wonder performed together at a 1998 state dinner hosted by Democratic President Bill Clinton in honor of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They performed under a tent on the roof of the Western Colonnade.
John criticized Republican President George W. Bush, telling a British magazine in November 2004 that Bush and his administration “are the worst thing that ever happened to America.”
But he was more diplomatic at a White House reception in December 2004 for a group of Kennedy Center honorees, including himself.
The rock legend said receiving the honor “is the icing on the cake. … It’s incredible for someone who is British to receive such an award from America, which has already given me so much in my career.”
Associated Press writer Chris Megerian in Washington and AP News researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.
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