Friday, January 23, 2009

Did You Know...

At last, Beyonce's song fits the mood

Like nearly every other piece of President Barack Obama's inauguration, picking Beyoncé to sing "At Last" during the first couple's first dance was part logistics, part symbolism - reinforcing many of the day's themes.

The song itself is 67 years old, first released on the soundtrack to the Glenn Miller movie "Orchestra Wives" in 1942, though most believe the definitive version belongs to Etta James, who turned it into a hit in 1961. Beyoncé covered it last year for "Cadillac Records," the movie where she portrayed James.

Choosing her to sing it, instead of James, plays into Obama's ongoing theme of giving young people the reins, but making sure they know their history and excel at what they do. It goes hand in hand with Michelle Obama choosing a gown from 26-year-old designer Jason Wu, whom many say updates the work of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. Or, you know, having a head speechwriter - Jon Favreau - who is 27.

For her part, the normally unflappable Beyoncé had to fight to keep it together, holding back the tears as the enormousness of the moment - not to mention watching the Obamas dance in front of her - started to get to her. "I was thinking [about] all of the sacrifices Obama and his wife and his children have made, and at last he's here," she told ABC News afterward, adding that she was embarrassed by her emotions. "It's probably the most important day of my life, and I'm so grateful."

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