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Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, Beyonce Perform at President Obama’s Second Inauguration

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President Obama’s second Inauguration didn’t feature as many huge names as did his first, but three of music’s top names still represented with performances of America’s greatest hits.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Taylor was the first musician to perform during the ceremony.  Bareheaded and wearing a coat, sweater, shirt and tie, James accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and sang a brief, simple version of “America the Beautiful.”

Next up was Kelly Clarkson.  Wearing a bright purple scarf, with her long blonde hair loose around her shoulders, the Grammy-winning superstar turned in a masterful performance of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”  She sang the first verse in a slightly lower register than her usual habit, and at an uncommonly slower tempo, but then picked up the pace and pitch for the next two verses.  She ended strong with a big note as she sang the song’s final words.

Beyonce closed the show with a note-perfect rendition of the national anthem.  Clad in a custom black velvet cutout Pucci dress as well as big, sparkly green Lorraine Schwartz earrings, Beyonce sang a slightly slower-paced version of the song, making every note count and, like Kelly, had a big finish, repeating “the home of the brave” twice.

Four years ago, when Beyonce performed Etta James’ classic “At Last” at Obama’s first Inaugural Ball, her studio recording of the number, which had been released in 2008, experienced a 1,318% sales gain, according to Nielsen Soundscan.  It will be interesting to see if Beyonce, Kelly and James experience sales increases of their catalog due to their Monday performances.

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