Justin Timberlake, The Alabama Shakes and Cyndi Lauper are all responsible for bringing a little Memphis Soul to the White House on Tuesday night. During his performance of “Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay,” the “Suit & Tie” star called out to the POTUS himself. The evening’s performers represented some of Memphis Soul’s best and brightest – of the past, present, and future. The genre helped bridge a gap during some of the city’s most turbulent times in the 60s and 70s, by “creating a little harmony with harmony,” – as the President put it in his opening remarks. Timberlake, a Memphis native, shared the stage with “Dock of the Bay’s” co-writer Steve Cropper, who also joined the Alabama Shakes during their performance of “Born Under a Bad Sign” by Albert King. That song’s writers, Booker T. Jones and William Bell, were both a part of the night’s celebration as well, with Jones serving as the music director and band leader. Other standout guests included Mavis Staples, Eddie Floyd and Ben Harper.
Sam Moore, the 77-year-old legendary singer of Sam & Dave, kicked off the musical portion with “Soul Man,” with the help of Joshua Ledet, the young singer known for placing third on last season’s “American Idol.” Ledet later got the first standing ovation of the night when he performed “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Cyndi Lauper was given the second after she brought some rock n roll to “Try A Little Tenderness.” Queen Latifah, who also helped to introduce many of the special guests, also took the mic to sing “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” The night concluded with all of the artists coming together for a grand finale of “In The Midnight Hour,” with the President and First Lady joining them on stage. PBS will air the event as the special “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” on Tuesday, April 16th.