Elvis & Nixon, the King & the President

23 Jun 2016

A recurring theme of the book "Walk A Lonely Street" is the relationship between politics and show business and it should come as no surprise to learn that there is a page devoted to Presley's much-discussed meeting with Richard Nixon.


In December 1970, at the very peak of his great career comeback, Elvis Presley disappeared from his Memphis home without warning, boarded a commercial flight, and travelled to Washington DC to meet with President Richard Nixon.


Presley's mission was simple, but also seemingly impossible: to persuade the President to issue him with a Bureau of Narcotics Badge  --  the Holy Grail of police ephemera (Presley was a noted collector of police badges and supporter of law enforcement).


Nixon, who had no idea that Elvis was coming, agreed to meet with the entertainer and both men recognised their common "rags-to-riches" journey, and spent a pleasant hour or so in each other's company.


Elvis brought two friends with him to the Oval Office and several official photographs captured the meeting for posterity. The King and the President maintained a cordial friendship until Presley's death in 1977.


The song that accompanies this short video, "Where Did They Go, Lord?", is an enigmatic composition that Elvis commissioned and recorded in autumn of 1970. Written by noted country songwriter Dallas Frazier, it's a song of lost love, but there is a sense in which it goes much deeper and questions America's loss of faith in itself at that turbulent national time.


So ... did Elvis get his badge from the President?




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