Finally tonight here, just about 24 hours from now the president and the first lady will be putting on their tux, their gown, and heading out to those inaugural balls. Tonight we wondered, when did... See More
Finally tonight here, just about 24 hours from now the president and the first lady will be putting on their tux, their gown, and heading out to those inaugural balls. Tonight we wondered, when did this tradition begin? And why now so many of them? ♪ it wasn't called an inaugural ball, but george washington did hold one, one week after his inauguration in 1789, 300 guests. Our first president is said to have danced the min yuet. The tradition officially began with james madison. First lady dolly madison hosting. A heavy cost at the time, $4 to get in. While dolly is said to have enjoyed the ball, her husband remarked, I would much rather be in bed. ♪ in 1865 the ball following lincoln's second inauguration, 4,000 dancing the waltz. At midnight, oysters, roast beef and lobster were served on a giant table. The "new york times" reporting that table, soon a mess. Frightful to behold, in their words. Washington turned out in all her splendor for the inaugural balls to be held in honor of the president. After world war ii, this idea of multiple balls. Theiz eisenhowers dancing here. The president and mrs. Kennedy leffing the white house for five balls in 1961. And who was waiting? ♪ You make me feel so young ♪ frank sinatra. Jfk started the tradition of inviting the famous to enjoy the fanfare. ♪ more than two decades later, the reagans dazzling the crowd with the salsa. Lionel hampton playing tuxedo junction. In 1989, an exuberant george h.W. Bush and first lady barbara bush. ♪ the song, I could have danced all night. ♪ his son, george w. Bush, dancing with first lady laura bush for just seconds. Less than a minute on each ball they attended. ♪ Make a wish baby ♪ the clintons dancing to "make a wish." And there was that saxophone moment. At his second inaugural. ♪ Unforgettable. What was unforgettable was the number of balls that year, 14 of them. And four years ago -- ♪ at last ♪ beyonce, the first performance for the first couple, ten balls.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.