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Music

Barack Obama hits Billboard chart for Hamilton remix

Don't throw away your shot to hear this moving testament to love of country.

Barack Obama: past US president, author, attorney. And now, Billboard-charting artist alongside the likes of Khalid, Ciara and Ella Mai. 

A remix of the Hamilton song One Last Time featuring Obama currently holds the No. 22 spot on Billboard's R&B chart for the week starting Jan. 5. The rework, a gospel version titled One Last Time (44 Remix) and released Dec. 21, features original cast member Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington; Grammy Award-winning artist BeBe Winans; a gospel choir; and none other than the former leader of the free world.

At the 1:43 mark, Obama reads part of George Washington's farewell address as gentle guitar and piano play in the background and Washington's words echo powerfully in smooth song.

"Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error. I'm nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will view them with indulgence.

"I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers."

It's an incredibly moving convergence of music and civic devotion, and I really wish I'd been in the room where THAT recording happened.

The remix is the final installment in Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamildrops, a monthly series of Hamilton-related tracks that feature big-name artists like Sara Bareilles and The Decemberists and raise money for nonprofits.

Obama has long been a fan of the hit musical set in revolutionary America. In 2009, years before it became a Tony Award-winning show, he watched co-creator Miranda perform a number from it at a White House poetry jam. In 2015, once the musical hit Broadway, he could be seen giving a standing ovation

First published Dec. 21, 2018.
Update, Jan. 5 at 3:44 p.m. PT: Adds that the remix hit the Billboard charts.

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