In the car on this MLK Day I caught fragments of the morning news and the talk show that follows it. Somewhere in there, snippets of two songs caught my ear.
1. Bruce Springsteen, during Sunday's inauguration kickoff concert in DC, doing a powerful acoustic version of "The Rising" supported by a full gospel choir. Here it is, at least until HBO inevitably yanks the clip:
2. A studio recording of a song Mahalia Jackson performed during the 1963 March on Washington. (I can't remember which one, but it was gorgeous.) This was almost certainly not the song, but it works so beautifully with the title, theme, and tone of Bruce's--to say nothing of the zeitgeist at this particular moment--that I can't resist sharing it:
#2 inspired me to pull out my copy of ...
... this compilation of Jackson's recordings for Columbia as a way of honoring the present confluence of anniversaries, inaugurations, and such.
I'm actually not the biggest fan of either the Boss or the Queen of Gospel, but of course I recognize their places in popular culture and music history, and each has created many moments that speak directly to me. Today I heard two more, and the day--24 short hours before we officially welcome a president who can actually form complete, coherent, and even thought-provoking sentences!--was all the more inspiring as a result.