The Time a Fully Loaded Elvis Presley Showed up at the White House

By the time the 1970s rolled around, Elvis Presley had held a variety of public titles: Musical groundbreaker, rock star, crooner, icon. But one day the man with the neverending sideburns and a life-long infatuation with law enforcement decided he wanted to be known for something more, and only a trip to visit Richard Nixon with a Colt .45 pistol in his hand could make it happen. Join us now for a retrospective photo journey to the time Elvis Presley stopped by the White House with the oddest gift a president has ever received.

Elvis Presley, the Legend

He’s been dead for 40 years, but Elvis was still streamed 382 million times on Spotify in 2016.

Depending on which stage of Elvis Presley’s life you most admire goes a long way to how you remember the king of rock and roll. Skinny Elvis, or fat Elvis? Hip shaking Elvis with a guitar, or crooning Elvis in a jumpsuit?

Of course, not everyone is a fan, but worldwide Presley is estimated to have sold one billion records. He was a rich, famous and incredibly odd individual who had some extremely bizarre infatuations. Presley the celebrity is impossible to forget but was there another Elvis we didn’t know.

Growing up Poor

A ten-year-old Elvis with his parents, Vernon and Gladys, outside of their Tupelo home in 1945. Image: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Elvis Aron Presley (his middle name spelling was changed later to Aaron) was born in the middle of America’s heartland in East Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8. 1935. His arrival came 35 minutes after his identical twin brother, Jesse, was stillborn.

Life as a child was never easy for Elvis. His father spent a year behind bars in 1938 for forging a check, and the Presley family lived a relatively meager lifestyle while Vernon Presley hopped from low-paying job to low-paying job.