by Sean Smith
Last Friday Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, and with that we said goodbye to America’s 44th President Barack Obama.
The legacy of President Obama’s eight years in office will begin to be written in the years and decades to come. While it is way too early to judge his presidency as a whole, we can make one conclusive observation. President Obama, more than any other president in recent memory, had a close relationship with music. Specifically popular music. He not only served as the nation’s Commander-in-Chief, but also as our Curator-in-Chief.
Under the Obama Administration, the White House held poetry jams. The first White House Poetry Jam came about in 2009. It was during that event that the world was first introduced to what would become Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking broadway smash Hamilton: An American Musical. At the 2011 edition of the White House Poetry Jam, Chicago emcee Common performed for the President and the nation.
Lin Manuel Miranda Performs “Hamilton” At The White House
May 12, 2009
Our now former President also sang. Like in front of people. For the world to see. During a joyous celebration of the blues held at the White house in 2012, he sang “Sweet Home Chicago” with the legendary B.B. King. On a more somber occasion, during a Eulogy given following the racially motivated murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, he led the nation in a song when he broke into “Amazing Grace.” In 2012, during a fundraiser at the legendary Apollo Theater, President Obama sung a line of the Al Green classic “Let’s Stay Together,” joking that the Sandman did not come and pull him off stage.
“Let’s Stay Together”
Buddy Guy And Friends Featuring President Obama
“Sweet Home Chicago”
President Obama Sings “Amazing Grace”
Al Green released “Let’s Stay Together” in December 1971. It was the lead single and title track to an album he released on January 31, 1972. He wrote the lyrics to the track himself, reportedly in about five minutes.. The recording process for Green with “Let’s Stay Together” was a bit more lengthy to say the least. He recorded vocals for it over 100 times, and still was unhappy with the outcome. He thought his falsetto on the song sounded too thin. Eventually, Willie Mitchell who produced the track was able to convince Green that the song was special and that it should be released. Upon it’s release “Let’s Stay Together” was met with commercial success. It topped both the Billboard R&B chart as well as the Hot 100.
So in honor of President Barack Obama, who left office last friday and who once sang a few lines of this classic at the historic Apollo Theater, this week we remember the 1971 Al Green hit “Let’s Stay Together.” Enjoy.
“Let’s Stay Together”
From Let’s Stay Together
Hi Records/Fat Possam Records