Videos: Top inauguration songs

Written by on January 19, 2021


President- elect Joe Biden’s inauguration festivities will start quickly, and here is all the things you want to know. USA TODAY

The present should go on.

On Wednesday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of america on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., precisely two weeks after the federal constructing was attacked by President Donald Trump’s supporters. However even with threats of violence and protests, the ceremony went off and not using a hitch, as Lady Gaga performed the national anthem, Garth Brooks sang “Wonderful Grace,” and Jennifer Lopez did a mashup of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Stunning.” 

The festivities proceed Wednesday night time with the Tom Hanks-hosted “Celebrating America” particular on ABC (8:30 EST/PST), that includes musical friends together with Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard.

Biden inauguration: Lady Gaga stuns with rousing national anthem

‘Let’s Get Loud’?: Jennifer Lopez earns mixed reactions with patriotic mashup at Biden inauguration

To mark the historic occasion, we have a look again at among the greatest inauguration performances of the previous 4 a long time. 

Aretha Franklin, ‘My Nation, ‘Tis of Thee’ (2009)

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Franklin carried out on the inaugurations of three presidents: Barack Obama, Invoice Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The singer, who died in 2018, shined at Obama’s first inauguration, belting out a soulful rendition of “My Nation, ‘Tis of Thee.” For a lot of, Franklin’s epic hat with an unlimited bow was the piece that pushed this efficiency excessive.

Barbra Streisand, “God Bless America” (1993)

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There is no such factor as a phoned-in efficiency from Streisand, who makes this patriotic traditional divinely her personal with each rigorously enunciated phrase and hovering vocal riff. When she launches right into a piercing belt for the showstopping ultimate verse, the digital camera cuts to Invoice Clinton, smiling and fist-pumping from his seat at his first inauguration live performance. That is exactly our response, too, irrespective of what number of occasions we watch.

Beyoncé, ‘At Final’ (2009)

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Beyoncé is not any stranger to incredible presidential performances, having sung “America the Stunning” at Obama’s inauguration live performance in 2009 and the nationwide anthem when he was sworn in for a second time period in 2013. However our favourite second was when she serenaded the president and first girl Michelle Obama with “At Final,” made well-known by Etta James, on the 2009 inaugural ball. The best way the Obamas take a look at one another, after which at a beaming Queen B from throughout the room, is swoon-worthy. And the load of historical past – the election of our nation’s first Black president – makes the scene that rather more stunning, with a cutaway to actress Kerry Washington crying within the viewers. 

Bob Dylan, ‘Chimes of Freedom’ (1993)

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Dylan has written among the greatest protest songs in historical past, however the iconic folks singer has an on-again, off-again relationship with politics. Certainly one of his most memorable “on” moments got here in 1993 when he carried out for Clinton’s inauguration. “Chimes of Freedom” was the music he chosen, delivered together with his trademark raspy voice. A grinning Clinton might be seen at one level providing a thumbs-up.

Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger, ‘This Land is Your Land’ (2009)

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After 4 years of division, there’s something profoundly shifting about watching this joyful efficiency from Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Standing in entrance of the Lincoln Memorial, flanked by gospel singers in blue and crimson, Springsteen and Seeger, who died in 2014, lead the large crowd in a easy but heartwarming rendition of “This Land is Your Land.” It reminds us of the values of freedom and equality that make this nation so nice, and by no means fails to carry tears to our eyes.

Fleetwood Mac, ‘Do not Cease’ (1993) 

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A totally pleasant efficiency of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 crowd-pleaser, which closed out Clinton’s first-term inaugural live performance with a message of hope and optimism (“It will be higher than earlier than / Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone”). Stick round till the top to see Michael Jackson be part of the band for the ultimate refrain, dancing facet by facet with Stevie Nicks and a tambourine-playing Invoice. First girl Hillary Clinton and then-teenage daughter Chelsea additionally get in on the enjoyable, clapping and swaying onstage with a gospel choir.

Kelly Clarkson, ‘My Nation, ‘Tis of Thee’ (2013)

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Clarkson is not any stranger to performing in entrance of crowds, beneath stress. She did get her begin on “American Idol” in any case. And but she seems to be extremely nervous right here. Starstruck, too, as she shakes fingers with then-Vice President Joe Biden. However as soon as she will get began, it is the Kelly Clarkson we all know and love delivering a poignant rendition of “My Nation, ‘Tis of Thee.”

Girl Gaga, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ 


Recording artist Girl Gaga lent her voice to the inauguration ceremony for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” USA TODAY

The nationwide anthem is a regularly solemn affair, with many artists too afraid of flubbing that ultimate “free” to actually let unfastened and even crack a smile. Girl Gaga, in the meantime, struck the right steadiness of reverent and relaxed, dramatic and excessive camp at President Joe Biden’s inauguration: her voice hovering as she channeled Patti LuPone in “Evita,” arms outstretched and eyes gazing skyward. It was an exuberant second, made much more memorable by the pop star’s delightfully lavish ensemble, which was seemingly plucked from the costume trailer of a “Starvation Video games” film. 

Ray Charles, ‘America the Stunning’ (1985)

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Frank Sinatra and the Seaside Boys topped the invoice of Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural gala. However the excessive level of the night was undoubtedly Charles, who has carried out his now-definitive model of “America the Stunning” in all places from Lincoln Middle to the World Collection. Soulful and stirring, it is exhausting to not get emotional because the viewers joins him for the music’s ultimate verse.

Ricky Martin, ‘Cup of Life’ (2001)

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Martin introduced great power as the ultimate performer at George W. Bush’s first inauguration. Performing “Cup of Life” whereas spinning and shaking his hips, he led the group in a call-and-response of “Do you actually need it? Yeah!” We’re nonetheless singing “Ale, ale, ale!”


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