Published February 26, 2009
The East Room of the White House, normally a place for staid presidential news conferences and other Washington happenings, was switched into a nightclub Wednesday night as Stevie Wonder stepped inside and rocked the house.
In a celebration to be broadcast on PBS Thursday night, Wonder serenaded the first couple, kicking things off with a version of "Sir Duke" and later Wonder classics like "Isn't She Lovely" and "Superstition."
President Obama and Michelle Obama, in an elegant emerald gown, along with Vice President Biden and his wife Jill, took in the show from the front row.
And the Obamas had a message to the guest-of-honor: We owe it all to Stevie.
The first lady recalled listening to Wonder's music as a little girl with her grandfather, something that she took with her into her relationship with her now-husband. "Years later, when I discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love, Barack and I chose the song, 'You and I' as our wedding song."
When President Obama stepped up to the microphone, he echoed the influence Wonder's music had on the couple. In only a half-joking manner he noted, "I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. And the fact that we agreed on Stevie was a part of the essence of our courtship."
Wonder later returned the accolades, describing the historical significance of Obama's rise to office and the potential it provided for a more united world.
"I'm looking forward to you doing that, so that in my lifetime, I can write some more songs about love, about unity," he said.
But he took it a step further: "And through those songs of passion, you know, maybe I'll be a part of creating some more of those babies."