Elton John gets a huge surprise from Biden after White House performance

Washington DC - Pop legend Sir Elton John gave a special performance on the White House lawn, with President Joe Biden and around 2,000 "everyday history makers" in attendance on Friday night.

Elton John (l.) was surprised with the National Humanities Medal by President Joe Biden.
Elton John (l.) was surprised with the National Humanities Medal by President Joe Biden.  © REUTERS

The event, dubbed A Night When Hope and History Rhyme, saw an audience that included teachers, students, nurses, LGBTQ+ advocates, military families, and mental health advocates assemble on the South Lawn to watch the multiple Grammy award-winning artist.

Organized by the History Channel and A+E Networks, the star performed several of his smash hits, including Tiny Dancer, Rocketman, and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, before President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden surprised the singer with the National Humanities Medal for his work to end Aids and assist those living with the condition through the Elton John Aids Foundation.

In accepting the award, Sir Elton said he felt honored and emotional by the recognition.

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"Since I founded the Foundation at my kitchen table in Atlanta 30 years ago, I made a commitment not to leave anyone behind and will continue on this mission," he said.

"We are striving for a future where people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, and gender identities have the opportunity to live free from Aids, stigma, injustice, and maltreatment – and I’m so grateful recognition like this brings us a step closer to making that a reality."

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Elton John performing on the White House lawn on Friday evening.
Elton John performing on the White House lawn on Friday evening.  © REUTERS

The singer’s husband, David Furnish, who is also chairman of the Elton John Aids Foundation, added: "It’s on us to make the world a better, more equal place, and Elton is someone who truly walks the walk."

"He is so deserving of the National Humanities Medal through his constant advocacy for equality throughout his career and through the Elton John Aids foundation."

It was the 75-year-old British songwriter’s first White House gig since he performed with Stevie Wonder at a state dinner in 1998 to honor former prime minister Tony Blair.

Elton John is currently on a farewell tour that began in July after more than 50 years of performing.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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