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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 12:05 GMT
Glamour and the White House
Ricky Martin and George W Bush
Ricky Martin and George W Bush whoop it up
The inauguration of a new American president is traditionally a glamorous affair. But George W Bush is displaying his Texan roots with a slightly more down-to-earth celebration.

Glitz and the American presidency have gone hand in hand since Warner Brothers and General Electric sent a train load of Hollywood stars to Roosevelt's inauguration in 1932.

Since then, few presidents have failed to surround themselves with at least a handful of stars as they prepare to take office.

The build up to the swearing-in ceremony of a new boss at the White House is traditionally marked by a televised celebratory gala, a host of invitation-only balls and a colourful parade.

Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra hosted John F Kennedy's 1961 inauguration gala
Unsurprisingly, John F Kennedy propelled the event into the media age when he decided to televise his gala in 1961.

Hosted by Frank Sinatra and attended by the stars of the day, Ethel Murmen and Harry Belafonte, it set the tone for modern-day inaugurations.

Such is the importance of the festivities that Bill Clinton reportedly spent as much on the inauguration events of 1993 as he did on securing the Democratic Party's nomination for president a year earlier.

Four days of celebration, balls and parties and parades cost a reported $35m.

The central event of the celebration was a Call for Reunion concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Michael Bolton, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and LL Cool J performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people while Jack Nicholson and Oprah Winfrey marked the start of the inauguration with readings.

At a televised gala, the rock group Fleetwood Mac reunited after 13 years apart to sing Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow to the new president - it was also the theme song of Clinton's election campaign.

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg described the Clintons as "three of the coolest people I know"
Barbara Streisand, Elton John, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry also sang for Bill Clinton at the event.

The youthful president, who had impressed the younger generation with his saxophone playing skills, seemed relaxed in the company of the Hollywood set.

Four years later Washington slightly scaled down the festivities but there was still room for a Presidential Gala, 14 official balls and a $30m price tag for the whole event.

Michael Douglas and Stevie Wonder were the stellar attractions of the day.

Whoopi Goldberg, the host of the 1997 inauguration gala, said: of the Clintons: "You're three of the coolest people I know."

Hollywood and the White House had never seemed closer.

The importance of inauguration has grown exponentially over the last 20 years.

Ronald Reagan spent $16m on the event in 1981 and $20m in 1985.

He was persuaded to spend such sums after Jimmy Carter's previous home-spun inauguration had left American cold and unimpressed.

Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church sang for President-elect George W Bush
According to the New York Times, George W Bush is spending $30m on his inauguration.

But the expensive price tag has not attracted high-profile stars.

Ricky Martin and Charlotte Church led the celebrations on the opening concert of the Bush inauguration.

Talk show host Larry King compered the event which will also be attended by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

During his election campaign President-elect Bush made much of his Texan roots, contrasting his background with that of the supposed Washington "insider" Al Gore.

Unsurprisingly, the inauguration has a country feel to it .

Country singing stars Lyle Lovett, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman will sing at a Black Tie and Boots Ball, which captures the spirit of the event.

Also expected to attend the ball are long-time republican supporters Sylvester Stallone, Robert Duvall and Chuck Norris.

They may all be celebrities but in Hollywood terms the guest list is more B-list than A-list.

The more muted affair may also be down to the lack of preparation time afforded to organisers.

The protracted counting of votes in the election left little time for the organisation of an event which attracts up to 200,000 people to the swearing-in ceremony and thousands more to the rounds of parties and balls.

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