President Barack Obama celebrates his 53rd birthday today (Aug. 4). To celebrate, we went back through the best musical moments of his presidency. Obama is considered one of the most (if not the most) musical president the country has ever had. Thanks to the ease of social media, many of his best moments have gone viral online. He has referenced hip-hop artists in speeches; rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jay Z, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Pharrell, and Bruce Springsteen, among others; and has enlisted many of today’s biggest pop stars to perform at his campaign rallies and events. He has even done some singing himself.
Below, relive his best musical moments and raise a glass to the leader of the free world on his birthday.
1. President Obama Sings Snippet Of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” During Speech (January 2012)
During a fundraising event at the Apollo Theater, the commander in chief gave a shout out to soul singer Al Green, who was at the event. He showed off his singing abilities, singing a snippet of Green’s classic hit “Let’s Stay Together.”
“I…I’m so in love with you,” he sang, adding that his team backstage didn’t believe he would sing. “Don’t worry Rev, I cannot sing like you, but I just wanted to show my appreciation.”
2. President Obama Sings "Sweet Home Chicago" At White House Blues Festival (February 2012)
Following up his singing debut at the Apollo, the president was persuaded to sing again. After Obama thanked B.B. King, Booker T. Jones, Mick Jagger, and Derek Trucks for a great night of music, Buddy Guy said to him, “We were trying to get you to sing that because I heard you had sung Al Green. So you started something, so you gotta keep it up!”
After looking a bit embarrassed, Obama takes the mic to sing. "Come on, baby don't you wanna go… Come on, baby don't you wanna go… (hands mic to B.B. King who sings "Back to that same old place")… Sweet home, Chicago."
3. President Obama Slow-Jams The News With Jimmy Fallon on Late Night (April 2012)
The president stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon with a message for congress regarding an increase in student loan rates. Backed by the Roots, he surprised the audience by slow-jamming the news with Fallon. Black Thought of The Roots added to the performance saying, “If Congress doesn’t act, it’s the students who pay. The right and left should join on this like Kim and Kanye.”
4. President Obama Introduces Jay Z’s Headlining Set at Inaugural Made In America Festival (September 2012)
Obama made an appearance at Jay Z’s headlining set during the inaugural Made In America Festival, appropriately during his performance of “Public Service Announcement.” The commander in chief broadcasted an actual PSA about the real meaning of “Made in America,” and urged the young audience to vote.
“No matter who you are, what you look like or where you come from, you can make it if you try,” he said. “Jay Z did. He didn’t come from power of privilege. He got ahead because he worked hard, learned from his mistakes, and just plain refused to quit. That’s what Made In America means.”
5. Brushed Dirt Off His Shoulders With Jay Z and Beyoncé (September 2012)
In a reference to his 2008 campaign speech in which he referenced Jay Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” by pretending to brush some dirt of his shoulders, the president joined Beyoncé, Jay Z, and an unidentified supporter in brushing their shoulders off for a photo at a campaign fundraiser held at Jay Z’s 40/40 club.