Is The White House Just An Awesome Clubhouse Designed By An Eight-Year-Old Boy?

Jan 26th, 2009 // 16 Comments

For an edifice designed to house and represent the seat of national and international power, it sure seems like the White House could have been diagrammed in crayon on college-ruled notebook paper during third period. We know there’s a bowling alley, of course—which Barack Obama is going to replace with a basketball court, as any modern eight-year-old would. There’s a private chef who can make you mac and cheese or pizza rolls, even after midnight!!! There’s a pool, a dog, a helicopter, spy equipment, secret rooms for ordering missile strikes, and lots of long hallways to skateboard down. There’s no moat (that we know of), but as it turns out, there is one more key feature: an awesome secret record collection!

And, in a move that would make any Mojo reader happy, it was last updated during the Carter administration, leading to a collection that includes:

landmark albums in rock (Led Zeppelin IV, the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed), punk (the Ramones’ Rocket to Russia, the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols), cult classics (Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin) and disco. Not to mention records by Santana, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, the Cars and Barry Manilow.

The collection started in the Nixon administration, but included squaresville stuff like Pat Boone. When Jimmy Carter got into office, a commission including John Hammond and then-Rolling Stone reviews editor Paul Nelson updated it with the above list of stone-cold classix. (And Captain Beefheart.) Each of the sleeves was imprinted with the presidential seal and the records were housed on the third floor—but as soon as Ronald Reagan moved in, they got shipped off to the basement. If Obama revives the collection, does that mean he might also implement my dream of a residence with an awesome water slide going from the roof to the basement?

Obama’s Secret Record Collection [RS, via AllAboutJazz / yvynyl]


  1. Anonymous

    I, for one, am psyched that Trout Mask Replica resides somewhere inside the White House. Perhaps someone even played it there which makes me kind of giddy.

  2. brasstax

    When’s the White House gonna have a yard sale?

  3. Maura Johnston

    @brasstax: The way things are going lately, it might be sooner rather than later.

  4. brasstax

    Yeah, you’re probably right. I just want a copy of Speaking in Tongues with a Presidential seal stamped into the cover. I’d go as high as $15.

  5. dyfl

    Man, I hope the White House yard sale is exactly like this:


    But the real question is: how good is the White House’s 7″ collection? Is Barack Obama losing his edge?

  6. MameDennis

    Oh, if they start building the collection, this guy is going to be annoying the living poo out of the White House any day now…

  7. Audif Jackson Winters III

    The titles in that collection are distressingly Barackist.

  8. Lucas Jensen

    That’s awesome. I wonder what disco they’ve got?

  9. Elijah-M

    I would just about kill for photographic evidence of Jimmy Carter rocking out to the Ramones via a pair of vintage Koss-K ear cans.

    Also, this photo seems a lot more feasible now:

  10. Chris Molanphy

    @brasstax: @dyfl: I hope the sale is like this:

    Louis: I don’t have that record… I’ll buy it for forty.
    Rob: Sold.
    Louis: Now why would you sell it to me and not to him?
    Barry: Because you’re not a geek, Louis.


    I’m surprised our Boomer pres in the ’90s didn’t update the collection. Then again, he probably would’ve added Kenny G.

  11. Anonymous

    I always thought that any president’s collection was like five copies of Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good”, maybe some Rippingtons records and like some U2 or something.

  12. brasstax

    Bono probably donates the U2 wax himself.

  13. Cam/ron

    I too would listen to “Trout Mask Replica” non-stop if I was president during the Three Mile Island crisis.

  14. MameDennis

    @Chris Molanphy:
    Also Kenny Loggins. It seemed like every Democratic political function in the early-to-mid ’90s featured a live performance of “Conviction of the Heart.”

  15. Anonymous

    Arlo Gutherie told a story, in a later day live rendition of “Alice’s Restaurant”, of visiting during the moving in of the Carter administratin and finding a copy of his Alice’s Restaurant LP with the seal broken. And that there is an exactly “Alice’s” sized gap of erased Nixon tapes. In case anyone cares. It took him about 18 minutes to tell that story. He’s very personable. Good day.

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