Providing a much-needed break from the president's non-stop bummer of a newsweek, Sir Paul McCartney will head to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. tonight to receive the George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. At a ceremony in the East Room of the White House (to be broadcast on WETA on July 28, though hard-core Beatles fans can watch the live stream on whitehouse.gov), McCartney will be feted by fellow superstars Stevie Wonder (recipient of last year's prize and a Michelle Obama fave), the Jonas Brothers (a Sasha and Malia Obama fave), Elvis Costello (a Nick Jonas fave), country megastars Faith Hill and Emmylou Harris, rock gods Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters) and Jack White (of the White Stripes), classical Chinese pianist Lang Lang, jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and indie songstress Corinne Bailey Rae. Should all those stars fail to entertain, "remarks" will be offered by Jerry Seinfeld. No word yet on whether Prince will jump out of a birthday cake in the shape of McCartney's face (only half kidding). The Gershwin Prize is not officially a White House honor -- it is awarded by the Library of Congress to "honor artists whose creative output transcends distinctions between musical styles and idioms, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering mutual understanding and appreciation." Librarian of Congress James H. Billington praised McCartney's career, saying, "Sir Paul has been writing and performing for more than five decades . . . in genres ranging from rock 'n' roll to classical compositions. But he also has made an impact far beyond music through his humanitarianism and activism around the world, which are emblematic of the spirit of the Gershwin Prize." Begun in 2007, previous Gershwin winners are Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.
While the president has mentioned Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan as some of his favorite musicians, he may be surprised to know that McCartney has a few topical songs that may provide guidance as he charts the road ahead on everything from finance reform to Supreme Court nominations.
Herewith, a Top 10 list of Songs Written by Paul McCartney Which May or May Not be Helpful to Barack Obama as He Tries to Get a Handle on Things:
1. "Here, There and Everywhere" (BP oil spill)
2. "The Girl Is Mine" (Elena Kagan nomination for the Supreme Court)
3. "Back in the USSR" (nuclear disarmament)
4. "Get Back" (Wall Street reform)
5. "We Can Work it Out" (North and South Korea)
6. "Maybe I'm Amazed" (passage of the healthcare bill)
7. "Good Day Sunshine" (energy bill)
8. "All My Loving" (Israel/Middle East peace talks)
9. "Band on the Run" (Afghanistan)
10. "Can't Buy Me Love" (midterm elections)