Elvis meets Nixon to fight drugs: 40 years ago today

On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley sealed his fate as the first rock-and-roller who got too old and joined the Man. The White House meeting between the King and Richard Nixon was the former's idea -- he'd written a six-page letter proposing the visit and asking to be made a Federal Agent-At-Large in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. More incriminating photo evidence below.

This probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Four years later, Elvis had OD'd on barbiturates twice, gotten divorced from his wife and gained a cartoonish amount of weight. And Watergate had pushed Nixon from the White House. In retrospect, not the best do-gooder pairing.

The meeting was, as a symbol, about a lot more than drugs. It was about a man who used to get censored on national television for his scandalous hips joining forces with the face of hard-line conservatism. Fortunately, kids around the world were moving on to new heroes who weren't afraid to make a bad decision or two, and more people are making rock and roll today than ever before.

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky