Barack Obama gave the Queen of England an iPod.  I think the iPod is a terrific gift that was appropriately personalized with music and commemorative video — but some in the mainstream press are ticklish over their feigned outrage at Obama’s “inappropriate” gift giving style.

So now what do you give their octogenarian monarch who, you can safely assume, already has everything she could ever want? An iPod, of course. Engraved, certainly. Personalised, too. But still an iPod. Cue outrage in America (“Confirms Obama hasn’t figured out presidential gift-giving” – NBC; “Well, it’s better than a bunch of DVDs that don’t work” – Christian Science Monitor) and Britain (“She already has one” – the Daily Telegraph; “My Husband and iPod” – The Sun).

Difficult as this is to believe, the Queen already owned an iPod, a 6GB silver model acquired as long ago as 2005 at the suggestion of the ever-hip Prince Andrew. But Obama’s gift was a video iPod, loaded with photos and video from the Queen’s 2007 state visit to the States as well as archive footage from her 1957 trip; plus pics and audio from President Obama’s inauguration, and audio of his speech (as plain Senator Obama) at the 2004 Democratic national convention.

Here’s the music The Windsor Star claims Obama provided.  Clicking on the song link will take you to iTunes:


If I Loved You,” Jan Clayton, “Carousel”

You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Jan Clayton, “Carousel”

There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Ethel Merman, “Annie Get Your Gun”

Once in Love with Amy (Where’s Charley?),” Ray Bolger

Some Enchanted Evening,” “South Pacific”

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Carol Channing, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

Getting to Know You,” Gertrude Lawrence, “The King and I”

Shall We Dance?” Gertrude Lawrence, “The King and I”

I Could Have Danced All Night,” Julie Andrews, “My Fair Lady”

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” Rex Harrison, “My Fair Lady”

The Party’s Over (Bells Are Ringing),” Judy Holliday

Maria,” “West Side Story”

Tonight,” “West Side Story”

Seventy Six Trombones,” “The Music Man”

Everything’s Coming up Roses,” Ethel Merman, “Gypsy”

The Sound of Music

Try to Remember,” Jerry Orbach, “The Fantasticks”

Camelot,” Richard Burton

If Ever I Would Leave You,” Robert Goulet, “Camelot”

Hello, Dolly!” Carol Channing

If I Were a Rich Man,” Zero Mostel, “Fiddler on the Roof”

People,” Barbra Streisand, “Funny Girl”

On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever),” John Cullum

The Impossible Dream,” Richard Kiley, “Man of La Mancha”

Mame,” Charles Braswell

Cabaret,” Liza Minnelli

Aquarius, Ronald Dyson, “Hair’

Send in the Clowns,” Judy Collins, “A Little Night Music”

All That Jazz,” Chita Rivera, “Chicago”

One,” “A Chorus Line”

Tomorrow,” Andrea McArdle, “Annie”

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” Patti LuPone, “Evita”

And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”

Memory,” Elaine Paige, “Cats”

The Best of Times,” George Hearn, “La Cage Aux Folles”

I Dreamed a Dream,” “Les Miserables”

The Music of the Night,” Michael Crawford, “The Phantom of the Opera”

As If We Never Said Goodbye,” Elaine Paige, “Sunset Blvd.”

Seasons of Love,” “Rent”

Do you think the Obama iPhone gift to the Queen was appropriate or not?

Is Obama reflecting an internationl touchstone for a deeper gift-giving aesthetic; or is he overthinking again and trying to be too cool for the room?


  1. It wasn’t the ipod itself that made it a good gift. It was the song selection. 🙂

  2. That’s right, Gordon! There was some sort of careful thinking about picking the right songs. I think that alone shows it was a deeply personal choice for HRH.

  3. Hey, this is the year 2009! An ipod is the gift that says “you care enough to send the very best” … smiling.
    Who wouldn’t enjoy a genre compiled primarily of “Broadway” hits? At least Obama reflected his “good taste” in “music” and in “gifting” in accordance to our times.

  4. Not only are the songs objectively wonderful, I’ve been reading that the Queen and Prince Philip courted to Rodgers and Hammerstein music when they were young, so the music would be especially significant to her.
    The people fussing about the iPod also haven’t been mentioning the rare signed Rodgers and Hammerstein sheet music Obama gave her, as well.

  5. That’s right, Rikibeth, the songbook was signed by Richard Rodgers in, I believe, in 1954 and was gifted to the Obamas for the Queen by his daughter Mary. Now that’s the personal touch!

  6. Hi David,
    I think the media always twists a story to make it more interesting…
    I find the gift absolutely perfect and genuine and I love it – hats off!

  7. Hi David,
    The mainstream media is always a fence sitter flip-case, you never know when they are going to turn against whom and why – it’s besically what they think can be news worthy.

  8. Right, Katha! The MSM disgust me. Bloggers are really doing their job now, and that’s a good thing. Bush lived in that silent transition of power between the major media and the lone voice. No future president will ever be so lucky again.

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