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The Day the U.S. President Met “The King”


On this day in 1956, Elvis Presley was busy recording his soon-to-be hit song, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”  Listening to this famous tune got us thinking about one of the least-known (and most weird) events in DC history.  The story goes like this:

When he wasn’t busy thrusting his pelvis on stage, Elvis Presley enjoyed collecting police badges.  In 1970, after getting into a fight with his father and wife, Elvis hopped on a plane to escape his troubles in Washington, DC.  He left after spending just one night in the nation’s capital, but quickly returned to Washington once he realized how desperately he wanted a new badge: one from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

On the plane back to Washington, Elvis penned a letter to President Nixon asking for a federal agent’s badge in exchange for being “of any service that I can to help the country out.”  He added that he would love to meet with Nixon and would be staying at the Washington Hotel for “as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent.”

A meeting was set up between the President and “the King of Rock’n’Roll” around noon the next day.  Elvis presented Nixon with a Colt -.45 pistol, Nixon presented Elvis with a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, pictures were taken, and the stage was set for the ultimate irony.  Seven years later, on August 16, 1977, Elvis died of a drug overdose.

Irony aside, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” is still just as enjoyable as the day it was recorded, exactly 57 years ago.  We are still waiting for someone to re-mix it with Nixon’s “I am not a crook” statement for the ultimate DC mash-up!