Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock Elton John, Joe Biden
Among the songs on John's set list — which included "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer," and "Rocket Man" — was one that has been key to the soundtrack of the president's life: "Crocodile Rock."
Biden, 79, first met John, 75, during his tenure as vice president, when the two both appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
According to John's husband David Furnish, Biden opened up about the importance of the song during that first meeting.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Furnish said Biden explained how he used to listen to "Crocodile Rock" on car rides with his two sons Hunter and Beau, following the death of his first wife, Neilia, and his daughter Naomi, in a catastrophic crash 50 years ago.
The deaths of Biden's first wife and 13-month-old daughter Naomi in that 1972 car crash (which injured his sons as well) are foundational to his story as a lawmaker, and occurred after he had been elected the youngest-ever senator but before he was sworn in.
Later, the song took on new meaning, as Biden sang it to Beau — who died seven years ago, at age 46 — while he was hospitalized with terminal brain cancer.
As Furnish told the Post, Biden even sang it to Beau when he was unconscious, telling his son that he had met the singer, and heard the song performed live.
"[Beau] didn't come back to consciousness. But we'd been told that he smiled and it definitely, you know, triggered something," Furnish told the Post of Biden's story. "So we knew that was a song with a real journey that had been on a real journey for the president. And so it was important for Elton that it was included in the set."
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The emotional concert culminated with President Biden surprising the singer with the National Humanities Medal, which brought John to tears.
"Elton had absolutely no idea he was getting the medal. It's very rare to see Elton rendered speechless on anything, and when that came out, he was completely gobsmacked," Furnish told the Post. "And just everyone felt the love."