Whether you voted them in… or out, you have to respect their taste for country music. Here we highlight a few U.S. presidents that we would let on aux.
To start the list, we like to bring in a little controversy.
As the 37th president of the United States, Richard Nixon starts our list of leaders that had a love for the genre.
Nixon makes our list because he was the only president to perform onstage at the Grand Ole Opry. The surprise performance happened when the Opry relocated from Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974. President Nixon made the trip to the Music City for the debut.
The “King of Country Music” Roy Acuff took it a step further and invited Nixon onstage for a piano performance of “God Bless America.” In addition, the country artist even gave the former president a yo-yo lesson on stage.
This wasn’t Richard Nixon’s only run-in with a country music star. In 1972, Nixon invited Johnny Cash to the White House for what he expected to be an electric performance, which was not the case.
Although Nixon requested songs like “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard and Guy Drake’s hit “Welfare Cadillac,” Cash had other tunes in mind. Johnny Cash performed “Man in Black” and “What is Truth” for the president to protest the ongoing Vietnam War, which many opposed.
President Ronald Reagan
The next president that enjoyed a good country tune was one of the most beloved American presidents, Ronald Reagan.
The 40th president won the hearts of country music fans everywhere for his pardoning of the musical hellion, Merle Haggard, in 1972. Haggard had continuous run-ins with the law throughout his life, but thanks to Reagan, Haggard was now a free man in life and on paper.
Although Reagan was not yet the president, he was serving as the governor of California when he granted the full pardon. Merle Haggard said Reagan gave him “a second chance at life.”
Haggard didn’t forget the gesture. When Reagan became president nearly ten years later, the country legend performed at the White House for Ronald Reagan.
George W. and H.W. Bush
Finally, it’s hard for a Texas man to shy away from country music. As you probably guessed, George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, is also making the list.
George H. W. caught attention for being the first and only president to attend the Country Music Association Awards. In 1991, at the 25th annual awards show, Bush even gave a touching speech on what the genre means to the country.
“Country music gives us a window on the real world,” Bush said. “It’s easy to see why America loves country music. Country music loves America.”
Country musician loved him as well, with Reba McEntire and The Oak Ridge Boys performing at his funeral in 2018.
His son, George W. Bush, was no different. He shared his music library in 2005, which revealed a love for Alan Jackson and George Jones, among other genres. However, none more exciting than President Bush’s personal concert from George Strait in 2017 for the former president’s 70th birthday.
As we said, it doesn’t matter where you come from or where you are going. Country music will always accept you as you are.