The Story of Willie Nelson’s Rooftop Smoking Session at the White House

The Story of Willie Nelson's Rooftop Smoking Session at the White House
Photo: Willie Nelson and Chip Carter, who smoked a joint together on the roof of the White House

Willie Nelson, a key figure in the outlaw country movement, is rumored to have stirred up a bit of trouble during a visit to Washington D.C. in the late 1970s. Back then, President Jimmy Carter, who happened to be a good friend of Nelson’s, extended an invitation for dinner at the White House.

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According to the legend, Nelson took the spirit of rebellion to new heights during this visit by making his way to the White House roof for a laid-back marijuana smoking session. But, as with many legendary tales, the full story has more nuances than meet the eye.

The account first emerged in Nelson’s 1988 autobiography, where he vividly described sitting on the White House roof, beer in one hand, and a rolled joint in the other. The identity of his rooftop companion was initially kept under wraps but was later hinted at by biographer Joe Nick Patoski in his 2008 book, suggesting it might have been “one of the Carter boys.”

>>READ ALSO: 5 Songs Willie Nelson Wrote for Other Artists

“Sitting on the roof of the White House in Washington, D.C. late last night with a beer in one hand and a fat Austin Torpedo in the other. My companion on the roof was pointing out to me the sights and layout of how the streets run in Washington…I let the weed cover me with a pleasing cloud…I guess the roof of the White House is the safest place to smoke dope.”

Willie: An Autobiography

Nelson playfully downplayed the incident in interviews, responding with humor when asked about rolling a joint on the White House roof. In his 2015 autobiography, he delved into the introspective side of the experience, emphasizing the unique atmosphere of getting stoned on such an iconic location.

The story took an intriguing turn during a GQ interview when Nelson seemed to acknowledge that President Carter’s middle son, Chip, might have been the mystery companion that night. Despite this revelation, Nelson doesn’t actively flaunt the incident, stating that while he doesn’t deny it, it’s not something he feels the need to bring up regularly.

For fans of country music, this unconventional tale adds to the allure of Willie Nelson’s legendary status, showcasing the genre’s rebellious and wild spirit.

>>READ ALSO: Willie Nelson’s First Marriage Marked by a Fork-Stabbing Incident


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