Last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an incredible group of performers for a night of blues music as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. After a little encouragement from the legendary blues artists B.B. King and Buddy Guy, the President took the mic from Mick Jagger, and sang a few lines from Robert Johnson’s blues classic, “Sweet Home Chicago.” Watch the video:
In welcoming the crowd to the White House, President Obama talked about the origin of the blues:
“This is music with humble beginnings — roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved. The blues bore witness to these hard times. And like so many of the men and women who sang them, the blues refused to be limited by the circumstances of their birth.
“The music migrated north — from Mississippi Delta to Memphis to my hometown in Chicago. It helped lay the foundation for rock and roll, and R&B and hip-hop. It inspired artists and audiences around the world. And as tonight’s performers will demonstrate, the blues continue to draw a crowd. Because this music speaks to something universal. No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note” President Obama said.
King, Guy, and Jagger were joined by Jeff Beck, Trombone Shorty, Keb’ Mo’, and a host of others.