Legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin threw her oversized hat into the ring on Wednesday (January 23) to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Beyoncé’s performance of the national anthem at Monday’s inauguration of President Obama.
Franklin told ABC News that when she heard the performance may have been lip-synched
to a pre-recorded track she, “really laughed. I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees [ABC noted it was actually around 40 degrees at the time of the performance] and for most singers that is just not good singing weather.”
Franklin has faced those issues before and sympathized with Bey. The soul icon sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” for Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. “I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record … next time I’ll probably do the same,” said Franklin, who noted that she opted to sing live in 2009.
“I wanted to give people the real thing and pre-recording never crossed my mind,” she said of her gig four years ago. “I think it’s optional really, it’s up to the artist. In 2009, I wanted everything to be live and on the real side for the moment as it actually happened. Those were my feelings for my performance, but having come face to face with 28, 22 degrees I am not surprised she pre-recorded. She wanted her performance to be what she wanted to be and she realized it wasn’t going to be the way she wanted it to be or she was going to be running a risk. That’s probably why she pre-recorded exactly how she wanted it to be heard.”
So far, spokespeople for Beyoncé have not commented on the reports.
The flap erupted on Tuesday when a Marine Band spokesperson said Beyoncé pre-recorded the anthem on Sunday night and lip-synched to the track on Monday.
Later in the day, a different Marine Corps representative walked back the initial statement, saying that Bey did not have time to properly rehearse with the band. “The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”