Elton John performing on the White House lawn as part of his farewell tour

Elton John had a plan to perform at the White House before the world-famous pianist hanged him, he says, for good.

John was strolling the South Lawn Friday night for a show he calls “A Night Where Hope and History Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes.

It will be John’s first White House concert since he performed with Stevie Wonder at a 1998 state dinner honoring British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At 75, John is on a farewell tour after performing for more than 50 years.

A giant outdoor tent and stage were set up on the White House lawn for the show. The 2,000-strong guest list includes teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBTQ advocates, plus civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died of related complications. with AIDS in 1990. The president was expected to comment.

“The President and First Lady will celebrate the great contributions Sir Elton has made throughout his life as an artist and advocate,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.

The show was formed after A+E Networks and the History Channel, who are footing the bill, asked the White House and John if they would be willing to collaborate to honor “everyday history makers” as well as John himself. , according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.

It’s unclear if the show will run beyond the live presentation, though eager viewers can tune in to the live broadcast from the White House to at least hear the president’s remarks. John has worked with A+E in the past on their global HIV/AIDS charity, the Elton John Foundation, which has raised more than $525 million to fight the virus worldwide.

The History Channel presents a new episode of its “HistoryTalks” series in Washington on Saturday, and John will be in town playing at Nationals Park as part of his latest tour. He opened the final leg of his North American farewell series in Philadelphia in July.

The president and the first lady are big fans. Biden wrote in a 2017 memoir about singing “Crocodile Rock” to her two young sons as she drove them to school, and then to her son Ella’s Beau before he died of cancer at the 46 years.

“I started singing the lyrics to Beau, softly, so only the two of us could hear it,” Biden wrote. “Beau didn’t open his eyes, but I could see through my own tears that he was smiling.”

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, was also a fan of John. He tried to get John to perform at his 2017 inauguration, but John refused, saying he didn’t think it was appropriate for a Briton to play at the swearing-in of an American president.

The White House insisted Friday’s show was not an attempt to troll Trump, who has praised John in his books and has often featured John’s music, including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer,” on his playlists. pre-rally playback over the years. Trump dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man” because of his missile-testing record.

Knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Elton has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, played more than 4,000 shows in 80 countries, and recorded one of the best-selling singles of all time. times, his 1997 reworking of “Candle In The Wind” to praise Princess Diana, which sold 33 million copies.

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