Jimmy Carter was called the rock ‘n’ roll president thanks to his well-known love of music.
“He really did listen to the music and was a fan: Dylan, the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band,” Mark Feeney wrote in a Boston Globe review of the 2020 documentary of Carter’s life.
But there was another reason for the nickname: Carter’s campaign for the White House was boosted by fund-raising concerts.
“It was the Allman Brothers that helped put me in the White House, by raising money when I didn’t have any money,” Carter said in the film. “Gregg [Allman] and I were good friends.”
Carter, who at 98 is the longest-lived American president, has been under hospice care at his home in Plains, Ga., since mid-February.
In 1975, the Democratic field was crowded ahead of the primaries, with 17 candidates. Many of them had far more name recognition than Carter at the time, including Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, former ambassador to France Sargent Shriver, California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown, and West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. Concerts helped Carter stand out.
On Nov. 25, 1975, The Allman Brothers Band played a concert at the Providence Civic Center to raise money for Carter’s presidential run. Tickets were $6.50 in advance, $7.50 at the door, according to the contract signed a month earlier. The concert was expected to gross as much as $90,000.
Geraldo Rivera offered opening remarks about the then-governor of Georgia.
“You know, in my position I’m not allowed to specifically endorse any political candidate, but that doesn’t stop me from saying what I think about a guy,” said Rivera, then the host of the TV news program “Good Night, America.” “Governor Jimmy Carter is a sincere, hard-working, solid, honest man. In an era when people are sick to death of politicians from Watergate, and the country is tired of all the jargon we hear coming out of Washington, Governor Carter is like a breath of fresh air coming out of Georgia, and I’m telling you he’s sweeping the country. He says what we say about civil rights, about drug abuse, about alcoholism, about mental health and the environment. And I urge you to listen to what he’s got to say. I’d be proud to have this man as President of the United States.”
Carter took the stage in a dark suit, white shirt, and diamond-patterned tie. “Thank you,” he said as the crowd roared. “I’m going say four things. First of all, I’m running for president. Secondly, I’m going to be elected. Third, this is very important, I need your help. Would you help me? And fourth, I want to introduce to you my friends and your friends, the ones that are going to help me get elected, along with you, the great Allman Brothers.”
After thanking Rivera and Carter, the band launched into “Don’t Want You No More” followed by “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” — the opening songs on their first album — and continued playing for two and a half hours, ending with their iconic “Whipping Post.” You can listen to the show here (the set list is below):
- Don’t Want You No More
- It’s Not My Cross To Bear
- Long Time Gone
- Midnight Rider
- Ramblin’ Man
- Win, Lose, Or Draw
- In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
- Can’t Lose What You Never Had
- One Way Out
- High Falls
- Done Somebody Wrong
- Statesboro Blues
- Stormy Monday
- You Don’t Love Me
- Les Brers In A Minor
- Whipping Post
Lylah Alphonse can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @WriteEditRepeat.