Ignored Obscured Restored
Today’s SotW celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the strangest events ever to occur in Rock History. On May 10, 1969, The Turtles took drugs in the Nixon White House and all hell broke loose.
The accounts of what actually happened that day are a little sketchy. (The were no smartphones capturing everything on video.) I’ll do my best to tell the story as pieced together from several sources.
Tricia Nixon, the President’s daughter, was a big fan of The Turtles. She was having her first party in the White House and invited The Turtles and The Temptations to provide the entertainment. The guests were socialites and the children of high-powered business execs – about 450 of them!
The first incident occurred when the Secret Service freaked out because the could hear something ticking in the equipment cases. Turns out it was only a metronome, but just to be safe, the agents stomped it into pieces to make sure it wasn’t an IED. In another telling, the SS pried the cover off of it and drowned it in water.
Next came the drugs and alcohol. Some say The Turtles snorted cocaine off the Lincoln Desk (as Howard “Eddie” Kaylan claims in his 2013 autobiography — Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.) and others that they smoked some weed in the Lincoln Bedroom. Who really knows? There was also an abundance of champagne being poured.
But one thing’s for sure – Mark “Flo” Volman, got so wasted that he fell off the crowded stage several times.
Later, Volman tried to hit on Lucy Baines Johnson, the former President’s daughter, much to the dismay of her angry husband, Pat Nugent.
At this time The Turtles were making their underappreciated album, Turtle Soup. That’s the one that they called on The Kinks’ Ray Davies to produce. Today’s SotW is “You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain” from Turtle Soup.
Enjoy… until next week.