See Aretha Franklin Sing Prince's 'Purple Rain' at White House - Rolling Stone
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See Aretha Franklin Sing Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ at White House

President Barack Obama celebrates International Jazz Day with all-star concert featuring Sting, Herbie Hancock and many more

President Barack Obama and the White House celebrated International Jazz Day Saturday with an all-star concert that featured jazz legends like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea and contemporary jazz musicians like Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin alongside singers like Aretha Franklin, Sting and Esperanza Spalding. During the 90-minute event, Franklin sang a portion of Prince‘s “Purple Rain” with the jazz greats involved. Watch Franklin’s rendition at the 74-minute mark in the video above (via Pitchfork).

“He was definitely an original and a one-of-a-kind. There was truly only one Prince,” the soul singer said in an interview soon after Prince’s death. “He put his stamp [on his sound]. Prince is gone but his music lives on.” Franklin added, “There was a mystique about him that made you want to know a little more about him. Kind of like Stevie [Wonder], he was one of those artists that loved to go into and stay in the studio.”

Franklin also kicked off the Jazz at the White House concert with a performance of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” later popularized by Donny Hathaway and Ray Charles and Franklin herself. Sting performed his “Sister Moon” with the musicians including Hancock, who previously covered the 1987 track. Buddy Guy, Jamie Cullum and Diana Krall also performed at the event.

In his opening remarks, Obama said of jazz music, “I don’t need to tell his crowd the story of jazz, from its humble origins as the music of the black working class, largely invisible to the mainstream. It went on to become America’s most significant artistic contribution to the world.”

Aretha Franklin paid tribute to Prince during an interview, telling MSNBC, “There was truly only one Prince.” Watch here.

In This Article: Aretha Franklin, Barack Obama, Prince


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