Six Damn Fine Degrees #102: The Carpenters in Nixon’s White House (and other sweet and horrible stories)

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

US presidents have had an often particular relationship to music, some more political than others. When Mege touched upon Dave Grohl’s performance at the Obama White House in last week’s post, I immediately thought of the 44th President’s curated playlists and the many high-profile artists (indeed from Aretha Franklin to Beyoncé) who were happy to grace what still is by far the most musical and literary modern presidency. Contrast this with the difficulties Obama’s successor had in finding A-list musicians to perform at his functions, let alone use their music at his rallies: anyone from Bon Jovi, Neil Young, Brian May, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M. and Adele flat out declined being politicised by Trump. The former president himself apparently considers Peggy Lee’s disillusioned “Is That All There Is” his favourite song. Go figure!

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