Washington (CNN) - President Obama celebrated the music that shaped "our American story" with some of the biggest female music legends Thursday night at the White House but came up a little lacking when he tried to show his R-E-S-P-E-C-T.The White House welcomed the performances by American musical icons Aretha Franklin, Melissa Etheridge, and Patti Labelle as well as contemporary female artists Ariana Grande, Janelle Monae, and Jill Scott.
While the President was paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, he had a hard time with the spelling of a word famously spelled out in one of her best known songs.
"When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved," Obama said to chuckles from the audience.
The spelling error did not bring down the energy of the night as Patti LaBelle kicked off the performances with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," bringing the President and First Lady to their feet.
The "Women of Soul" event was part of the "In Performance at the White House" series that has honored the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Let's just hope that if the President ever welcomes the Village People that he practices his Y-M-C-A.