Elton John White House
FILE - Elton John performs during his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road," tour, Friday, July 15, 2022, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The White House will become a concert venue Friday, Sept. 23, when Elton John performs. The event is called “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
entertainment

Celebrities coming back to White House after Trump drought

22 Comments
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Celebrities are back at the White House following a pop-culture backlash during the Trump years, when just about anyone considered high-wattage refused to show up.

Rocker Elton John is bringing his farewell tour to the South Lawn on Friday, the White House announced Tuesday, one week after singer James Taylor and hosts Jonathan and Drew Scott, of HGTV's “Property Brothers,” helped celebrate a new health care and climate change law.

John is among a slew of entertainers who refused to perform for 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 second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris' husband, to film a snazzy video promoting the law's climate change provisions.

Since taking office during a pandemic, which put a pause on too much togetherness, the 79-year-old Biden has also opened the White House to teen singer Olivia Rodrigo, to talk about young people and COVID-19 vaccinations, and the South Korean boy band BTS, to discuss Asian inclusion and representation.

Last year, the Democratic president resumed the tradition of hosting an in-person White House reception for the artists receiving honors from the Kennedy Center.

Actor Jennifer Garner accompanied first lady Jill Biden to West Virginia last year to visit a school-based COVID-19 vaccination site in Charleston. Garner also hosted a PBS “In Performance” special celebrating the holidays at the White House.

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 performance is part of a collaboration with A+E Networks and the History Channel that “will celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend 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+ advocates and others.

John also has a gig scheduled for Saturday night at Nationals Park in Washington as part of a tour wrapping up his 50-plus-year career. He opened the final leg of his North American farewell series in Philadelphia in July.

The 75-year-old British singer is among celebrities who avoided the Trump White House, starting with the Republican's 2017 inauguration. John had declined an invitation to play at Trump's inaugural festivities, saying he didn't think it was appropriate for someone with British heritage to play at the swearing-in of an American president.

Trump had included high praise for John in a few of his books and played John’s songs at his presidential campaign rallies, including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer.” Trump had also nicknamed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man” because of Kim’s habit of test-firing missiles.

Country music singers Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood were among the more notable entertainers who performed to help usher Trump into office. Bigger names from other genres refused or weren't considered.

Hollywood has always leaned heavily Democratic.

For the inauguration of Democrat Biden, singers Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks were among those who performed.

Aretha Franklin and Beyonce were among celebrities who turned out in a huge show of force for Democrat Barack Obama, from fundraising to his two inaugurations to performances inside the White House or on the grounds.

They disappeared under Trump, but are returning for Biden.

Biden relied on celebrities during his 2020 presidential campaign, when in-person schmoozing was largely suspended because of the coronavirus. A parade of movie and TV stars, pop icons and sports standouts stepped up to help Biden raise money and energize supporters.

Sir Elton — he was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II — has sold over 300 million records worldwide, played over 4,000 shows in 80 countries and recorded one of the best-selling singles of all-time, his 1997 reworking of “Candle In The Wind” to eulogize Princess Diana, which sold 33 million copies.

He has scored over 70 top 40 hits, including nine No. 1s, and released seven No. 1 albums in the 3 1/2-year period from 1972 to 1975, a pace second only to that of the Beatles. John has five Grammy awards, a Tony award for “Aida,” and Academy Awards 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 honoring British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They performed under a tent on the West Colonnade roof.

John was critical of Republican President George W. Bush, telling a British magazine in November 2004 that Bush and his administration “are the worst thing that has ever happened to America.”

But he was more diplomatic at a reception at the White House in December 2004 for a group of Kennedy Center honorees that included himself.

The rock legend said receiving the honor “is about the icing on the cake. ... It's incredible for someone who's British to be given such an accolade from America, which has given me so much already in my career.”

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


22 Comments
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This is fine. I don’t listen to pop music and corporate music. I listen to anti-establishment anti-status quo hardcore music. So I don’t see a problem with this at all. Have a good time corporate-backed pop singers at establishment and status quo central. Rock on!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

This is fine. I don’t listen to pop music and corporate music. I listen to anti-establishment anti-status quo hardcore music. So I don’t see a problem with this at all. Have a good time corporate-backed pop singers at establishment and status quo central. Rock on

I agree, if any President wants certain musicians to perform, that’s up to them, the average American could care less. Doesn’t help, hurt or enrich their lives. When I bake an apple pie my neighbors could care less so Biden should allow these people to perform if he thinks it’s important to him.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

And one-percenters

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I have never heard of this Taylor person who performed at the White House recently.

Musos need to watch out for their rep, but I listen to whatever music I like than consider their political persuasions, mostly… their music would have to be rubbish if I would not listen based on policy preferences.

But why did they call that recent law the Inflation Reduction Act? Why not call it what it is? That seemed like a bad marketing move, to me.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Trump had great celebrities visit like Ricky Schroder. Why is this even news?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Great news. I am happy that our leaders are treated to the finest entertainment. Sometimes they allow us peasants to watch later on YouTube. This is far important that boring old subjects like national bankruptcy, global nuclear war, widespread random violence, etc.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I have never heard of this Taylor person who performed at the White House recently.

You're missing out. He was the first artist signed by the Beatles, and an accomplished songwriter. No idea what his politics are - and I don't care.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes that’s what the average American is missing in their life. More “celebrities” at the White House.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Oh, that's a relief! What would we do without THE CELEBRITIES????

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Leftists just love the leftists. Whodathunkit?

BTW, most people would consider Sylvester Stallone a celebrity, or have you never heard of him?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Oh, that's a relief! What would we do without THE CELEBRITIES????

The point isn't that the celebrities are there - they always were. The point is that now there is a president who is actually worthy of respect as a human being, they are able to come back. the whole point is about how worthless as a president Trump was, that he alienated culture from wanting to perform for him.

Well, except Ted Nugent of course.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Leftists just love the leftists. Whodathunkit?

As do centrists, and with the GOP having gone extreme-far-right, many of the right-of-centrists love the leftists these days.

In fact, the only people who support the extremists in the GOP, are extremists.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

LOL!......Nobody really likes Trump!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

As do centrists, and with the GOP having gone extreme-far-right, many of the right-of-centrists love the leftists these days.

In fact, the only people who support the extremists in the GOP, are extremists.

"Everyone who disagrees with me is an extremist!!"

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Trump was quite happy to nick their music for his Nazi-style rallies, and then when they asked him to stop associating their music with his toxic politics he got a bit wokely offended and said he never liked them anyway.

Nobody sponsors Trump. Even his lawyers work pro bono, although they don't know that yet.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Chachi every day of the week for me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nobody sponsors Trump. Even his lawyers work pro bono, although they don't know that yet.

Not his newest lawyer, who made him cough up $3,000,000 before even starting!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"Celebrities coming back to White House after Trump drought"

Then lists 75 year-old Elton John and 74 year-old James Taylor.

as the kids say these days; LOL!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

saying he didn't think it was appropriate for someone with British heritage to play at the swearing-in of an American president.

Sir EJ was just being roundabout and nice guy about it. the point is this - remember 'SUN CITY'? It was a cultural ban started up by Little Steven, U2, Peter Gabriel, Kirtis Blow, Rolling Stones, Run-DMC, Hall and Oates and more. It was a REFUSAL to play at the Sun City resort (or anywhere else in South Africa) because of that land's policy of apartheid. They would not perform in that country due to its totalitarian racist dictatorship. As far back as the 60s the Beatles had vacationed there but didn't like what apartheid does and they refused to tour there. It got to be that touring in such an oppressive land like that was actually accepting apartheid. SA paid huge sums of money to Queen, Rod Stewart, EJ, Julio iglesis, Linda Ronstadt and others to play there.

During the 21st century certain stars performed in Qaddafy's Libya and it was taken as approving his terroristic shenanigans and personality cult. Mariah Carey, Beyonce and others were paid big money to play there, and technically legitimatize Qaddafy's rule. Sting got flak for performing in totalitarian Uzbekistan.

Therefore, since Trump is a usurper who stands for everything America stands for, would YOU want to play at the WH for him? Would you want to perform for this evil criminal antichrist who has such a seething hatred for humanity? For somebody so egotistical, violent and immature? I sure as hell wouldn't! I wouldn't ANY association whatsoever with such a fascist clod. No way, Jose. NEVER.

You got to make a stand for something and I could/would never perform for a fascist.

It wasn't just in music. Sports teams boycotted the American Fuehrer. The Kentucky Derby champ stated, 'If I wanted to see a horse's ass, I would've made sure I made second place!'. Well said.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Aggrandize himself"

Apologies. Damn Kindle fire predictive keyboard....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nobody of any notoriety wanted anything to do with the former guy.

It’s nice that it’s returning to normal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Therefore, since Trump is a usurper who stands for everything America stands for, would YOU want to play at the WH for him

(CORRECTION)

The word should be 'against' - against everything America ever stands for.

ClippetyClopToday  01:03 am JST

Trump was quite happy to nick their music for his Nazi-style rallies, and then when they asked him to stop associating their music with his toxic politics he got a bit wokely offended and said he never liked them anyway.

Nobody sponsors Trump. Even his lawyers work pro bono, although they don't know that yet.

The Rolling Stones, Village People, Neil Young, the estates of Tom Petty and Prince, others sued his butt for that. And REM had some very strong words to say to him from the start.

Yet he said he never liked them in the first place. Typical bratty behavior and trash talk. Typical 'nyah nyah nyah'. Sass sass sass-sass-sass. I can't see how anyone can respect a guy like this. he sure doesn't deserve any respect, that's for sure.

NemoToday  03:21 pm JST

Nobody of any notoriety wanted anything to do with the former guy.

It’s nice that it’s returning to normal.

I guess you could call it 'normal' again. Most of the time, I wouldn't even consider this to be newsworthy at all. I didn't care two hoots when Sir Paul McCartney played at the WH when Obama was there. Fine, go ahead and do so. That's not news. Same for when George Harrison met Gerald Ford way back when.

But Obama was just one of many Presidents the USA has had. Just like Gerald Ford and the rest. That all changed when Trumpster took over. Trump is/was no President. And his ill-mannered, immature and obnoxious demeanor makes him unworthy to visit or even associate yourself with. I wouldn't want to be in the same person with that person.

StrangerlandSep. 22  10:51 pm JST

Oh, that's a relief! What would we do without THE CELEBRITIES????

The point isn't that the celebrities are there - they always were. The point is that now there is a president who is actually worthy of respect as a human being, they are able to come back. the whole point is about how worthless as a president Trump was, that he alienated culture from wanting to perform for him.

Well, except Ted Nugent of course.

That's the key word - CULTURE. Would you want to perform for or have anything to do with such a boorish uncultured unprincipled egotistical Caligula loudmouth lummox like him? I wouldn't. And I don't blame the others either. It's also a matter of principal and standing up for something as well as standing up against what you know is wrong. Sorry for the rant, thanks for reading this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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