Main Content

The President of the United States Meets the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Meeting

This exhibit looks behind the scenes at Elvis Presley’s December 21, 1970, visit to Richard Nixon’s White House through the examination of White House memos, documents, firsthand accounts, and photographs. This exhibit was curated by White House Historical Association historian Lina Mann.

At 12:45 p.m. Bud Krogh ushered Elvis Presley into the Oval Office where President Nixon greeted him as “Mr. Presley.” President Nixon spoke with Presley about ways he could reach the nation’s youth through music. From there the meeting took an unexpected turn when Presley remarked that The Beatles promoted anti-American themes. Although Nixon was surprised by the commentary, he attempted to maneuver the conversation back to ways Presley could help the administration. Presley noted that he had personally studied drug culture and was accepted by many Americans, including “the hippies.” He also asked President Nixon for a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the president agreed, although declining to appoint him an honorary agent.