Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered his inaugural address today after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Near the end of his speech, President Biden quoted lyrics from the Gene Scheer composition “American Anthem,” which he called his “favorite song:”
Written by Scheer in 1998, “American Anthem” was first performed by Denyce Graves that year at the Smithsonian Institution during an event to launch Bill and Hillary Clinton’s “Save America’s Treasures” initiative. Graves performed the song again for George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. Later, Norah Jones further popularized “American Anthem” by covering it for Ken Burns’ WWII documentary series The War.
Earlier in the inauguration ceremony, Lady Gaga performed the National Anthem while Jennifer Lopez came out to sing a medley of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.”