Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Stars sign for Obama celebration

Bono and Beyonce
U2 and Beyonce are scheduled to perform at the event

Beyonce, U2 and Bruce Springsteen are among the musicians who have signed up to perform at an inaugural celebration for US President-elect Barack Obama.

Stevie Wonder, Usher, Mary J Blige and Sheryl Crow are also scheduled to perform at the event on 18 January at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

Historical passages will also be read by singer Queen Latifah and actors Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington.

Mr Obama, who will be sworn in on 20 January, is expected to attend.

The executive producer of the show, George Stevens Jr, said he was taken by surprise by the eagerness of stars to perform once he was given the go-ahead by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

'Rooted in history'

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An inauguration dress rehearsal

"On that first day, we asked Springsteen, Bono and Garth Brooks within a period of 45 minutes and got three `yeses'," Stevens told the Associated Press.

He said he had tried to reach out to a diversity of artists for the concert which would focus on national unification.

"The list of stars is impressive, but this is not a showbiz, glitzy occasion," he said.

"It's going to be rooted in history, remembering the great president [Lincoln] who led us through difficult times."

The artists have been asked to perform songs suited to the occasion, rather than their own hits, including A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke.

Singers Sting and Elvis Costello are heading another all-star line-up at a charity concert marking Mr Obama's inauguration on 20 January at Washington's Harman Center of the Arts.



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