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Ed Driscoll

Girl, You Know It’s True

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:02 am

Wow, talk about phoning it in: the music by Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma for President Obama’s inauguration was prerecorded, apparently because of the weather conditions:

The players and the inauguration organizing committee said the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during Tuesday’s ceremony. The conditions raised the possibility of broken piano strings, cracked instruments and wacky intonation minutes before the president’s swearing in (which had problems of its own).”Truly, weather just made it impossible,” Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said on Thursday. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli,” Ms. Florman added, referring to the pop band that was stripped of a 1989 Grammy because the duo did not sing on their album and lip-synched in concerts.

Ms. Florman said that the use of a recording was not disclosed beforehand but that the NBC producers handling the television pool were told of its likelihood the day before.

The network said it sent a note to pool members saying that the use of recordings in the musical numbers was possible. Inaugural musical performances are routinely recorded ahead of time for just such an eventuality, Ms. Florman said. The Marine Band and choruses, which performed throughout the ceremony, did not use a recording, she said.

“It’s not something we would announce, but it’s not something we would try to hide,” Ms. Florman said. “Frankly, it would never have occurred to me to announce it.”

No, of course not. Tom Blumer dubs it “Faked But Accurate;” Ann Althouse capsulizes the postmodern surrealism of the day:

So we were listening to recorded music when the clock hit noon, the constitutional moment for the President to be sworn in! Then, he was sworn in and that might have been fake and there was a second of that too.

Glenn Reynolds asks, “A Milli Vanilli Start To The Obama Presidency?” But Bob Owens notes that the Milli-ing–and even the Vanilli-ing–started quite some time ago.