44 Years Ago: Charlie Daniels Plays Jimmy Carter’s Inauguration
Charlie Daniels didn't exactly hide his conservative Republican political and social views, but he once headlined a fundraiser for a Democratic presidential candidate -- and even performed at the inauguration.
The year was 1976, and Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter was running for president against Gerald Ford, who had assumed the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned from office in August of 1974. Though he was not well-known nationally before announcing his candidacy, Carter's plainspoken honesty provided a sharp contrast for American voters who were still reeling from the multiple scandals of the Watergate era, and he conducted an unusually grassroots campaign that found support from a range of voters who might not have normally backed a Democrat.
Daniels and his Charlie Daniels Band headlined a benefit for Carter in Nashville in May of 1976, drawing 11,000 people. When Carter ended up winning the presidency, Daniels also performed at his inauguration ceremony on Jan, 20, 1977 -- 44 years ago today -- and though he was later a very staunch and outspoken supporter of Republican politics, he still believed in the choice he made then.
"Jimmy Carter is a good man," Daniels told Nashville's Tennessean newspaper in 2014. "He came along, a fresh-faced young man out of Georgia, and he spoke plainly, saying, 'I never will tell you a lie.' I don't think he ever did tell us a lie.
"I voted for Carter the second time, too," Daniels added. "He wasn't part of the establishment. The town of Washington ate him alive."
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