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16 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "Mony Mony"

Superstar musicians Stevie Wonder and Elton John were chosen to rock the White House at the hot-ticket official dinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, hosted by President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, on 5th February 1998. "These are two energetic young couples, so the Clintons wanted to reflect that in the music and the evening" said Social Secretary Capricia Marshall. Clinton referred to the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Britain in his toast at the dinner. Following the dinner, the guests were entertained in a tent on the West Terrace by the performers.

Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder sang and played "Mony Mony". Elton introduced Stevie Wonder as "one of the all-time great musicians." Their final rendition of "That's What Friends Are For" summed up both nations' close relations.

According to the Washington Post, the hour-long concert made the evening a night to remember. Wonder sat at the piano, paused to turn to the audience and joked, "Just looking at everybody!"

This was Elton's first ever performance at the White House. For this occasion, he completed the set list opening with "Your Song" and he made a rendition of an emotional "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".

The evening ended in a standing ovation for Elton and Stevie Wonder, and President Clinton added his appreciation. "Thank you Sir Elton," he said. "I wish I could give Stevie a knighthood."

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