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The Special Tie Between Elton John and Joe Biden

The singer will perform at White House on Friday.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: Elton John performs on stage as American Express present BST Hyde Park at Hyde Park on June 24, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
 

(CNN) — Singer Elton John will perform at the White House Friday night, according to a release from the White House.

A large tent is erected on the South Lawn for the event, the construction of which began Monday, a White House official told CNN. The official said that approximately 2,000 guests had been invited to attend, and the concert had been in the works for several months.

John is performing at the White House for an evening titled “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” for a concert in collaboration with A&E Networks and The History Channel. The official said that the show would air on television at a date to be determined.

According to the release, the event will “celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the every day history-makers in the audience, including teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students, LGBTQ+ advocates and more.” President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden will make remarks during the evening. According to the White House, A&E Networks and The History Channel are paying for the event.

A White House official told CNN that John’s team “expressed an interest on his behalf in playing again at the White House.” In 1998, John was invited by then-President Bill Clinton to entertain at a State Dinner for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Friday event title comes from a line in Seamus Heaney’s poem, “The Cure of Troy.” Biden has often cited Heaney as his favorite poet. The President has used the “when hope and history rhyme” line from the poem several times during his political career, including his acceptance speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The last stanza of the poem reads:

“That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”

The connection between Biden and John was revealed in Biden’s 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.” Biden wrote he used to listen to John’s music with his sons, Beau and Hunter Biden, and years later, when Beau was ill with brain cancer, Biden would sing the artist’s songs to him in the hospital.

John is scheduled to perform a concert at Nationals Park on Saturday night.

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