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Setlist wishlist: Songs we hope to hear when Paul McCartney visits the White House next week

paul mccartneyEveryone attending Tuesday's McCartney tribute at the White House should be practicing their na-na-na-nas. (Kevin Mazur/MPL)

By Chris Richards

Paul McCartney visits the White House next Tuesday to accept the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song -- and an assortment of stars will be there to perform his tunes in tribute.

The program will air on WETA on July 28 and will include performances from Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, the Jonas Brothers, Dave Grohl, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Herbie Hancock and Corinne Bailey Rae. (Jerry Seinfeld is also scheduled to appear, but hopefully won't sing.)

I'll be covering it for the Post, but since I won't be able to shout out requests during the program without getting bounced by Secret Service, I've compiled a list of McCartney hits I hope-slash-predict each artist will perform at Tuesday's event.

Check out my wishlist after the jump and let us know which songs you'd like to hear in the comments.

- Stevie Wonder, "We Can Work it Out"

Based on the rapport he's established with the first family, Wonder will probably perform "Michelle." But I'd love to hear him sing "We Can Work it Out," the only (ONLY!) cover of a Beatles song that trumps the original.

- Jack White and Dave Grohl, "Helter Skelter"

The White Stripes frontman recently told MTV that Paul was his favorite Beatle and he particularly liked "The Hippy Hippy Shake." But how great would it be if he tackled the darkest cut off the White Album? In the stately environs of the East Room? With the greatest drummer alive backing him up!? Oh man.

- Emmylou Harris, "Let It Be"

The prettiest voice in the building deserves to sing McCartney's prettiest ballad.

- Corinne Bailey Rae, "Yesterday"

The second prettiest voice in the building deserves to sing McCartney's second prettiest ballad.

- Herbie Hancock with Faith Hill, "Eleanor Rigby"

I'm anticipating at least one ill-fitting duet on Tuesday, but done right, Hancock and Hill could deliver a marvelous "Rigby." Fingers crossed.

- The Jonas Brothers, "Band on the Run"

No brainer, right? Each JoBro gets a verse. Bring Herbie back for that weird synthesizer line in the second movement. [Insert Statler-Waldorfian zinger about how the Bros should be run out of town, here.]

- Elvis Costello, "Drive My Car"

The program is going to need tight, upbeat tunes and this one suits Costello well. The Jonas Brothers might try it, too. But are they even old enough to drive? I also predict that Seinfeld will use that same lame joke.

- Paul McCartney, "Hey Jude"

And for the grand finale: Macca and ensemble joined by the first family for some na-na-na-nas. This is going to happen. And it is going to be awesome.

By Chris Richards  |  May 26, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Herbie Hancock, Jack White, Jonas Brothers, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder  
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I do believe that Stevie Wonder will do "We Can Work It Out." But while his version is funkier than the original, it is no way superior. Funky does not mean better. I believe the JoBros will sing "I Saw Her standing There." Age appropriate. I think Paul will go for something not so obvious as "Hey Jude." That's way too predictable. Someone will do "Got To Get You Into My Life." The person who duets with Herbie Hancock, I would believe. I think Faith Hill will sing "Let It Be." Emmy Lou Harris may do "Here, There and Everywhere." Or "Yesterday." I agree Elvis Costello will sing "Drive My Car." It has the kind of clever lyrics he loves. I don't believe "Helter Skelter" will be done in The White House. Grohl and White will surprise, but not with that song. They may surprise with one of Paul's solo hits. Ditto Corinne Baily Rae.

Posted by: utebearverizonnet | May 26, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, here's another vote for Stevie's cover of "We Can Work It Out" over the Beatles' original. The harmonica puts it over the top.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | May 26, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd like to see Paul ("Macca"? Come on!) serenade the much younger audience-member-in-chief with "When I'm 64".

Posted by: MyPostID27 | May 26, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The idea of Jack White and Dave Grohl doing one of Paul's solo songs is interesting. Hopefully it will be an obscurity such as "Monkberry Moon Delight" or "Beware My Love".

Posted by: shorowit1 | May 26, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be appropriate to perform Michelle, my Belle. These are words that go together well

Posted by: mike2457 | May 26, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

the only (ONLY!) cover of a Beatles song that trumps the original.

Fats Domino doing "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except for Me and My Monkey)" comes damn damn close.

Posted by: PFosterP | May 26, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think a Grohl/White duet is quite likely. So if "Helter Skelter" is too hardcore for the White House, what song will they do instead?

Posted by: ChrisRichards | May 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Musical tastes are SUBJECTIVE. Because one may prefer Stevie Wonder's version of "We Can Work It Out" because of the harmonica (putting it over the top) or whatever. That DOES NOT MAKE HIS VERSION BETTER. It just means that's the version some may prefer. It isn't the one I prefer. I like his version. He "funked" it up some, which demonstated how Beatles' songs are so versatile they can be done in many different musical styles...for all musical genres'. (Hence the array of musicians scheduled to be at the White House...funk, r&b, country, rock, teenage, etc.) The Beatles kept "We Can Work It Out" a pop song. As such, it's one of the best/most perfect pop songs ever; the most perfectly constructed and performed pop songs ever! IMO. Again, that's musical tastes/preferences.

Posted by: utebearverizonnet | May 26, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"As such, it's one of the best/most perfect pop songs ever; the most perfectly constructed and performed pop songs ever! IMO."

So if I'd put "IMO" after my post, it would have been perfectly acceptable by your standards.

My post is better-written than your post.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | May 26, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's what I'm sayin'. It's only your subjective opinion. That's all you have to offer. And your opinion is not fact. And it's not just "my standards." It's everyones' standards. Everyone has an opinion on most everything. That's what they are. Opinions. So there!!!! :)

Posted by: utebearverizonnet | May 27, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

You have an opinion on the acceptable way to express one's opinion. I have a different opinion. :)

Posted by: Lindemann777 | May 27, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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