White House record collection needs updating, says Jimmy Carter's grandson John Chuldenko, a grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is shining a light on the White House vinyl collection, which is outdated. The last records were added in 1980.

From Pat Boone to the Sex Pistols: Inside the secret White House record collection

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Who'd have thought the White House had one of the best record collections around back in the day? It's made up of more than 2,000 vinyl records, including Pat Boone, Chuck Berry, The Beatles and The Clash.


JOE STRUMMER: (Singing) Police and thieves in the street.

JOHN CHULDENKO: It is the coolest thing ever for a record collector. It is the most exclusive record library in the world, probably.


That's John Chuldenko. He's one of former President Jimmy Carter's grandsons. He's a writer and director who has been obsessed with telling the world about the music collection that was once kept at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

CHULDENKO: This whole collection was always intended to serve as a window to the outside world to find out the musical state of the nation.


FADEL: The collection was split into two installments. The first recordings were put together by the popular 20th-century songwriter Johnny Mercer. They included acts like Perry Como, Don Ho and Lawrence Welk.


MARTIN: The second collection is a little more rock 'n' roll. It was compiled by record producer John Hammond, who worked with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin.


ARETHA FRANKLIN: (Singing) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Take care, TCB.

FADEL: Chuldenko first heard about the music library from his Uncle Jeff, one of President Carter's sons. He wanted to confirm the authenticity, so he wrote to the White House Curator's Office.

CHULDENKO: I get an email back saying, yes, we do have a record collection. It's in a secure facility, so, unfortunately, you can't come see it. That email had all the right words in it - record collection, secure facility - I mean, all this kind of stuff that you're like, wait, what?

MARTIN: He convinced a curator to let him see the collection. In 2010, he was invited to the White House to comb through boxes and boxes of LPs.

CHULDENKO: All these records are in vinyl binders embossed with the presidential seal and then gold foil type that says the White House Record Library. And it's like, whoa.


BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Tangled up in blue.

FADEL: Chuldenko loved what he found, but realized the collection was really outdated. The last records were added in 1980.

CHULDENKO: There's no rap. There's no hip-hop. There's no Prince or Madonna. There's no Nirvana. There are so many things that have become such cultural touchstones that are not reflected in the White House Record Library and absolutely should be.

MARTIN: Yes. Now Chuldenko is lobbying for the White House to update its music collection. Kendrick Lamar, this could be your moment.


KURT COBAIN: (Singing) Load up on guns. Bring your friends.

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