Entertainment

Five most memorable presidential inauguration performances

The U.S. Presidential inauguration has attracted some major talent in the past. Here's a look back at some of the most memorable performances

From Beyoncé to Nat King Cole, previous acts didn't necessarily perform based on partisan politics

Beyoncé sings the U.S. national anthem to close the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington in 2013. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

In the days leading up to president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, there seems to be more talk of artists refusing to perform rather than accepting what has traditionally been an honour.

Country singer Toby Keith is scheduled to perform at an event Thursday. Actor Jon Voigt, the band 3 Doors Down and former America's Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho are also part of the festivities. Paul Anka and Broadway actress Jennifer Holliday pulled out.

While the 2017 inauguration might not be as star-studded as some have been in the past, here's a look at five memorable presidential swearing-ins.

Beyoncé (2009 and 2013)

That dance to Etta James' classic At Last takes the cake for most romantic inauguration, not to mention one of the most memorable. Beyoncé made the classic her own as President Barack Obama and wife Michelle slow-jammed in 2009.

The superstar's inauguration performance in 2013 of the American national anthem got a bit more flak after she was busted for using a backing track.

Beyoncé is facing allegations of lip-syncing her inauguration day performance, after a U.S. Marine Band spokesperson revealed that the pop star used a pre-recorded voice track, Deana Sumanac reports 5:10

Michael Jackson (1993)

Bill Clinton was known for his ability to mobilize celebrities and he proved it at his inauguration. Michael Jackson performed Gone Too Soon and Heal The World.

The concert also featured Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton shakes hands with singer Michael Jackson while Stevie Nicks sings during inauguration festivities in Landover, Md., in 1993. (AFP/Getty Images)

Beach Boys (1985)

Considering both Ronald and Nancy Reagan considered themselves fans of The Beach Boys, it seemed only fitting the group performed for Reagan's inauguration in 1985.

The harmonizing group performed an a cappella rendition of the Four Freshmen's Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.

The Beach Boys consisted of (back row, from left) Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson and (front row) Mike Love and Carl Wilson. The group performed at Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1985. ((Associated Press))

James Brown (1969)

James Brown purportedly voted for the Democrats during the 1968 election campaign, but he still performed at Richard Nixon's inaugural gala when the Republican took office in 1969.

"I accepted because I want to give our new president a chance to bring the people of this nation together in every respect of our national life," he told a reporter, defending his decision before the show.

Brown's Say It Loud – I'm Black And I'm Proud performance was one of many that will go down in history as some of the most memorable in presidential history.

James Brown performed for former president Richard Nixon in 1969.

Nat 'King' Cole (1961)

During the rise of the civil rights movement, Nat King Cole performed for John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

Other performers included Harry Belafonte, Tony Curtis, Bette Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Sidney Poitier. Frank Sinatra was the emcee.

This undated file photo shows singer and pianist Nat 'King' Cole, who performed for the Kennedy inauguration in 1961. (The Associated Press)

It's worth noting that like James Brown, Cole also dabbled in bipartisan performing, singing for the Republican National Convention to support Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

To see more of these performances, check out the video below.

With lots of speculation about who will and will not perform at Donald Trump's inauguration, CBC's Jelena Adzic looks back at some of the most memorable inauguration performances 3:50

With files from Jelena Adzic