top 5 music president of the united states


President Obama made the
Internet collectively squeal by
simply singing a few lines of
“Let’s Stay Together” and “Sweet
Home Chicago,” but he isn’t the
only president with minor musical
chops up his suit sleeve. In
celebration of Super Tuesday
today (March 6), we’re looking at
five other leaders who could not
only hold their own in the Oval
Office but also hold a tune. Bill
Clinton quickly comes to mind, but
how about Warren G. Harding
(said to be able to play every
instrument except trombone and
clarinet) or John Tyler (who
organized his 15 children into a
White House minstrel band)?
Read on for a musical history
lesson.
Music & Politics: 5 Moments
When They Didn’t Mix **
Thomas Jefferson
Our third president (1801-1809)
was quoted saying that music “is
the favorite passion of my soul,”
and apparently the man meant it.
His granddaughter, Ellen Wayles
Coolidge, lived above his bedroom
and said that Jefferson was
“always singing when ridin’ or
walkin’.” Meanwhile, his
plantation overseer, Edmund
Bacon, noted, “he was nearly
always humming some tune, or
singing in a low tone to himself.”
No shy singing here! Plus
Jefferson, whose favorite
composer was Joseph Haydn,
reportedly played cello, clavichord
and violin.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Did our 34th president
(1953-1961) start the music
compilation trend? Perhaps. In
1956, Eisenhower released an
album titled “The President’s
Favorite Music: Dwight D.
Eisenhower” with the cover
featuring him and first lady
Mamie. While the duo was no
brand like Sonny and Cher, the
album did see the White House
using music in a fun, interesting
way, a la Obama’s recent Spotify
playlist **. The still available
Eisenhower LP [ LINK] featured
classical favorites like Bach,
Beethoven and Strauss alongside
more contemporary tracks like
those from “Porgy and Bess” and
Marian Anderson’s rendition of
“He’s Got The Whole World In His
Hands.”
Richard Nixon
Before his career became
overshadowed in controversy,
our 37th president (1969-1974)
proved to be one of the most
musical. While his accordion skills
were far from hidden, Nixon was
also quite the accomplished
pianist. He wrote his own
concerto, aptly titled “Richard
Nixon Piano Concerto #1,” which
he played on primetime TV’s “Jack
Paar Program” in 1963. Nixon
also showcased his piano chops
at various events including
playing “God Bless America” on
the Grand Ole Opry stage and
accompanying singer Pearl Bailey
in a performance at the White
House.
NEXT PAGE: Clinton Gets Sax-y,
Obama Croons
Bill Clinton
The 42nd president of the United
States (1993-2001) had so much
early success with his music
(winning first chair in the
Arkansas state band saxophone
section) that he considered a
career in it. In his autobiography,
Clinton pondered a life dedicated
to the tenor sax, but set those
hopes aside, admitting, “I knew I
would never be John Coltrane or
Stan Getz.” After winning the
presidency, he made a defining
career move when he performed
Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” on the
“Arsenio Hall Show” — a move that
proved him to be a president for
the MTV generation. Clinton’s
appreciation was further proven
with a 1993 White House
celebration of the Newport Jazz
Festival’s 40th anniversary, where
he jammed onstage alongside
jazz sax legends.
Barack Obama
With the ease of social media,
Obama may go down as the most
recognized musical leader of
them all. Our 44th President’s
brief rendition (just a line) of Al
Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” back
at a January fundraiser has
racked up over 5.2+ million views
on YouTube. The viral sensation
led to blues legend B.B. King
calling him up on stage to
perform hometown anthem
“Sweet Home Chicago,” where he
took the microphone from none
other than Mick Jagger. Again, Mr.
President only showed off a line
of singing, but it’s an effective
campaign tool nonetheless.
Bonus: Obama’s a Grammy
winner, scooping up the Best
Spoken Word Album Award in
2006 for his “Dreams From My
Father.” Ba-rock on, Obama!
Obama sings Al Green
Obama jams with B.B. King & Mick
Jagger
Music & Politics: 5 Moments
When They Didn’t Mix **

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