If the White House is rockin', don't be surprised if you have to sit through some talkin', too.

President Barack Obama interrupted a night of music to give a speech presenting Paul McCartney with the third Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Not only is it the nation's highest songwriting honor—sorry, Best Instrumental Slow Jam—but it also meant that the president and first lady got front-row seats for an all-star jam that included Dave Grohl, Jerry Seinfeld, the Jonas Brothers, Elvis Costello, Faith Hill, Jack White and Stevie Wonder (who won the award last year).

But what about the controversy...

Aware that an evening of entertainment might not sit well as the nation's worst ecological disaster continues unabated in the Gulf of Mexico, the president addressed remarks to the region's musical heritage as well as his commitment to heal the areas devastated by the BP oil spill.

Not only did honoree McCartney return the kindness by praising the current president, but the former Beatle worked in a jab at a previous White House occupant quipping, "After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is." (We're sure it just slipped Macca's mind that the previous president is married to a librarian, but hey.)

The event, which concluded an all-star jam on "Hey Jude," featured Grohl doing "Band on the Run," White performing "Mother Nature's Son" and the JoBros doing "Drive My Car," as well as McCartney performing several songs, including "Michelle" for the first lady.

The concert special will air July 28 on PBS.


Remember when the president was the comedy headliner?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share