The First Lady Who Sang A Love Song to Her Husband

 

Nancy Reagan, Marvin Hamlisch, Kitty Carlisle, Sarah Vaughn, the Manhattan Transfer, George Merritt and Priscilla Baskerville during an In Performance at the White House, "Tribute to American Music" in East Room, October 26, 1986. (RRPL)

Singing “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” Nancy Reagan, Marvin Hamlisch, Kitty Carlisle, Sarah Vaughn, the Manhattan Transfer, George Merritt and Priscilla Baskerville during an In Performance at the White House, “Tribute to American Music” in East Room, October 26, 1986. (RRPL)

This article is adapted from a response to a media inquiry about whether there was a particular song identified with Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

The Reagans celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in the White House, 1982. (RRPL)

The Reagans celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in the White House, 1982. (RRPL)

There have been many couples in love who lived in the White House, but none were so public about their romance than Nancy and Ronald Reagan. In fact, there is even a specific piece of music associated with their marriage.

And once, the First Lady performed it, singing to the President.

The song is “Our Love is Here to Stay.” How this standard became an apparent favorite of the presidential couple is unclear, but there are at least two known circumstances when, as the incumbent First Lady sang it to the President, and another when it was especially performed for them.

The Reagans with England's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip aboard the yacht Britannia, the latter couple hosting an anniversary dinner for the former there. The piano at left was played while the First Lady again serenaded her husband with "Our Love is Here to Stay." (britain-magazine.com)

The Reagans with England’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip aboard the yacht Britannia, the latter couple hosting an anniversary dinner for the former there. The piano at left was played while the First Lady again serenaded her husband with “Our Love is Here to Stay.” (britain-magazine.com)

In 1983, while invited to celebrate their wedding anniversary on the royal yacht Britannia, by a visiting Queen Elizabeth of England, then visiting the Reagans in California with her husband, the First Lady serenaded the President with the song as aide Mike Deaver played the piano.

Then, three years later she repeated her singing performance on October 26, 1986 during the East Room taping of a public television special covering the first of four concerts of popular American music, focused on George Gershwin – the song’s composer.

In a closing number, along with performers including The Manhattan Transfer, Sarah Vaughan, and Kitty Carlisle Hart, composer Marvin Hamlisch took the microphone and sang a line from the song, “It’s very clear, our love is here to stay…”

The Reagans hosting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis at their final state dinner. (CNN)

The Reagans hosting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis at their final state dinner. (CNN)

Mrs. Reagan then grasped the microphone, rose from her seat and turned around to look at her husband, singing the lyrics to him:¬†“But oh my dear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but ever and a day…Together we’re going a long, long way…”

Sheet music for the theme song of the Reagan marriage.

Sheet music for the theme song of the Reagan marriage.

Finally, at the last Reagan state dinner, in November of 1988 honoring British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, the after-dinner entertainment was a piano performance by pianist Michael Feinstein.

Among the numbers he played for guests that night was, “Our Love is Here to Stay.” Although he pointed out that it was “Mrs. Reagan’s favorite song” she did not serenade the President with it this time.

in First Ladies and Music

First Ladies and Music

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