In 1996 Patti LaBelle Sang Through A Disastrous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and I Can’t Stop Watching the Video

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Since 1923 and Calvin Coolidge’s White House years, there has been a National Christmas Tree and a Lighting of the National Christmas Tree ceremony. Typically, the President will make some remarks, children will participate and the tree will be lit. In recent years, popular performers sing Christmas tunes and what not.

In 1996, Patti LaBelle was asked to perform at the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree. LaBelle has a couple of GRAMMYs, is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and is one of the most beloved performers of her generation.

Let’s just say, those things don’t matter when you don’t know the words to a song and you can’t find your background singers.

LaBelle was tasked with singing, “This Christmas,” but she didn’t know the words and the people running the cue cards weren’t fast enough for her.

In bold, you’ll find the lyrics she actually was able to sing:

Hang all the mistletoe
I’m gonna get to know you better
This Christmas

And as we trim the tree
How much fun it’s gonna be together
This Christmas

WHERE MY BACKGROUND SINGERS AT?

OH, BABY, BABY.
AND IT’S THE WRONG CUE CARDS, I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS.
I’M GONNA ADLIB ALL I CAN, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS
AND I HAVE NO BACKGROUND SINGERS.

WHERE ARE MY BACKGROUND SINGERS?

Fireside is blazing bright
We’re caroling through the night
And this Christmas, will be
A very special Christmas, for me

Presents and cards are here
My world is filled with cheer and you
This Christmas

And as I look around
Your eyes outshine the town, they do
This Christmas

NEXT CARD, HONEY! NEXT CARD!
WOOOOO-WOOOOOO!
THANK YOU!
WAHOOOOOO!

Fireside is blazing bright
We’re caroling through the night
And this Christmas, will be
A very special Christmas, for me, yeah

Fireside is blazing bright
We’re caroling through the night
And this Christmas, will be
A very special Christmas, for me yeah

Hang all the mistletoe
I’m gonna get to know you better
This Christmas
And as we trim the tree
How much fun it’s gonna be together
This Christmas

Fireside is blazing bright
We’re caroling through the night
And this Christmas, will be
A very special Christmas, for me

Merry Christmas
Shake a hand, shake a hand now
Wish you brother Merry Christmas
All over the land

The best part is when she was supposed to announce the soloist, but again, she couldn’t read the cue cards.

Fortunately, LaBelle is so charismatic and charming the performance kind of ended up being endearing. And hilarious. definitely hilarious.

Lauren Cowling
Born and raised in the South, Lauren grew up going to football games with her family and eating overcooked steak. When not writing, Lauren enjoys reading biographies, searching for pictures of puppies on the internet and drinking Sprite.

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