One of the most iconic moments of Barack Obama’s presidency will be permanently preserved on record.
The award-winning British rock back Coldplay plans to sample an excerpt from the president’s widely hailed speech at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one the eight victims of a racially motivated church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina this summer, during which he spontaneously broke into song, performing a few lines from “Amazing Grace,” for a predominately black audience of parishioners.
The moment culminated a week which many pundits ranked among the greatest of his tenure in office.
Coldplay, whose frontman Chris Martin has been vocal about his support for the president in the past, has confirmed that the president’s vocals will appear on their upcoming album “A Head Full of Dreams.” “We have a tiny clip of the President singing ‘Amazing Grace’ at that church. Because of the historical significance of what he did and also that song being about, ‘I’m lost but now I’m found,’” Martin recently told The Sun, a British newspaper.
This is not the first time Obama has made a cameo appearance on a popular record. The rapper Nas sampled the president’s 2008 victory speech on his song “Black President,” and during the height of the 2008 campaign, Will.i.Am’s star-studded “Yes We Can,” which also featured Obama’s oratory was a viral hit.
Meanwhile, the president himself has established a reputation for having real vocal chips since he’s been in office. The first glimpse most voters got of his skills were during a fundraising speech at New York City’s Apollo Theater in 2012, the president sang a few bars from Al Green’s soul classic “Let’s Stay Together.” The song got a big bump in sales after the president’s performance. He also earned praise while joining a chorus of “Sweet Home Chicago” during a White House concert featuring Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy and the late B.B. King.
According to The Sun, Obama himself granted permission for the audio to be used. “Barack Obama wouldn’t let just anyone feature his vocals on the record, especially considering what a deeply emotional moment it was for him. But he clearly loves Coldplay and is happy to be a part of their music history,” a source close to the band reportedly said.
Martin, who performed a touching tribute to Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, at his funeral in June, expressed surprise when he learned of the president’s fandom for his work. “I met Barack Obama in the summer and one thing he said to me was, ‘Oh I have your songs on my iPod,” but I just thought, ‘Oh I bet he says that to every pop star he meets,’” he told The Sun.
Obama did reveal that Coldplay had made his “Daytime” summer music playlist in August with their 2011 song “Paradise.”