The Obamas enjoyed the performance of a legendary Beatle on Wednesday night. Sir Paul McCartney performed at the East Room of the White House, after accepting the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the President.
“Getting this prize would be good enough,” said McCartney, and smiled as he added, “But getting it from this president ...”
McCartney’s performance at the White House
The 67-year-old musician said he had been “itching” to perform the song ‘Michelle’ for the first lady. So he went on to serenade Michelle Obama, and finished with a joke, saying he could be the “first guy ever to be punched out by a president.”
He assured the president that millions of people “are rooting for you”, despite all the intricacies.
McCartney also played a string of hits including ‘Got to Get You into My Life,’ ‘Let it be’ and ‘Hey Jude’.
Acknowledging his honor in performing at the White House, the Beatle said, “I don't think there could be anything more special than to perform here,” and added a dash of humor, saying, “Lunchtimes, we could come around … We’re cheap.”
"You start with a black hole and if you’re lucky, a couple hours later there’ll be a song waiting there." -- Sir Paul McCartney
He later thanked the Library of Congress, which gives the highest American award for popular song. “After the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is,” he said.
Stevie Wonder, who won the Gershwin Award last year, was also present to give his performance. Other performers that evening included Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, the Jonas Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Corinne Bailey Rae, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, and Jack White of the White Stripes.
The concert will be broadcast as a PBS special on July 28.
President praises the legendary Beatle
The president appreciated the contribution of the British legend towards U.S. culture, and said that the Beatles had “helped to lay the soundtrack for an entire generation.”
Sir Paul McCartney is the first non-American recipient of the award.
“That’s right, we stole you, Sir Paul,” said Obama.
Ahead of the concert, a news conference was held at the Library of Congress on Monday, wherein McCartney shared the magic behind his songwriting.
“You start with a black hole and if you’re lucky, a couple hours later there’ll be a song waiting there,” he said. “That mystery, that magic is still the same for me.”