Although he is better remembered as the only U.S. president to resign from office, Richard Nixon may have also been the most musically-accomplished leader of the free world. The 37th President of the United States, who was in office from 1969 to 1974, could play a number of musical instruments, including the piano, accordion, clarinet, violin, and saxophone. In fact, he wrote his own concerto, entitled "Richard Nixon Piano Concerto #1," which he played on The Jack Paar Program in 1963.
Play it again, Dick:
- Nixon’s mother insisted that he practice on the family’s upright piano every afternoon. In the seventh grade, he was sent 200 miles (322 km) away to take lessons from his aunt, who had studied at the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music.
- As president, Nixon occasionally played piano in public, including “Happy Birthday” for Duke Ellington at the White House and “My Wild Irish Rose” in honor of his wife at the Grand Ole Opry.
- Nixon allegedly didn’t know how to read music. It was said that he picked up complex pieces by ear and was also a talented improviser.