In the days leading up to president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, there seems to be more talk of artists refusing to perform rather than accepting what has traditionally been an honour.
Country singer Toby Keith is scheduled to perform at an event Thursday. Actor Jon Voigt, the band 3 Doors Down and former America’s Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho are also part of the festivities. Paul Anka and Broadway actress Jennifer Holliday pulled out.
While the 2017 inauguration might not be as star-studded as some have been in the past, here’s a look at five memorable presidential swearing-ins.
Beyoncé (2009 and 2013)
That dance to Etta James’ classic At Last takes the cake for most romantic inauguration, not to mention one of the most memorable. Beyoncé made the classic her own as President Barack Obama and wife Michelle slow-jammed in 2009.
The superstar’s inauguration performance in 2013 of the American national anthem got a bit more flak after she was busted for using a backing track.
Michael Jackson (1993)
Bill Clinton was known for his ability to mobilize celebrities and he proved it at his inauguration. Michael Jackson performed Gone Too Soon and Heal The World.
The concert also featured Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac.
Beach Boys (1985)
Considering both Ronald and Nancy Reagan considered themselves fans of The Beach Boys, it seemed only fitting the group performed for Reagan’s inauguration in 1985.
The harmonizing group performed an a cappella rendition of the Four Freshmen’s Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.
James Brown (1969)
James Brown purportedly voted for the Democrats during the 1968 election campaign, but he still performed at Richard Nixon’s inaugural gala when the Republican took office in 1969.
“I accepted because I want to give our new president a chance to bring the people of this nation together in every respect of our national life,” he told a reporter, defending his decision before the show.
Brown’s Say It Loud – I’m Black And I’m Proud performance was one of many that will go down in history as some of the most memorable in presidential history.
Nat ‘King’ Cole (1961)
During the rise of the civil rights movement, Nat King Cole performed for John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
Other performers included Harry Belafonte, Tony Curtis, Bette Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Sidney Poitier. Frank Sinatra was the emcee.
It’s worth noting that like James Brown, Cole also dabbled in bipartisan performing, singing for the Republican National Convention to support Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
To see more of these performances, check out the video below.