Four For McGovern
Los Angeles Forum
3900 West Manchester Blvd.
April 15, 1972
“Four For McGovern” was a benefit concert for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. McGovern was running against Republican incumbent, President Richard Nixon. McGovern ran on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam, reduction in defense spending, and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Celebrity ushers worked the concert. Warren Beatty, a passionate McGovern supporter, masterminded the entire concert and convinced Streisand to perform.
“Since the arts have the ability to raise funds and at times I can organize well, I did it,” Beatty told the press. “It's not like C. Arnholt Smith contributing money or Frank Sinatra going out and doing a bunch of concerts for Hubert Humphrey. It's a whole group of artists, independent and intelligent people, getting together on the same bill behind McGovern, the man with the immaculate slate. I'm not saying people like Carole King, Quincy Jones or Barbra Streisand couldn't sell out a concert like this on their own, but having them together is why we know we'll sell out.”
The Village Voice reported:
On stage, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Carole King, and Quincy Jones performed for hordes of nubile screamers, who paid up to $100 a ticket to hear their favorite artists and gawk at the ushers: Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster, Jon Voight, Sally Kellerman, Robert Vaughn, Mama Cass, John Philip Law, Peggy Lipton, Michelle Phillips, plus the celebrities in the audience, Gregory Peck, Britt Eklund, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell.
Streisand told Barbara Walters in 1976, “I was so frightened. I carried all my lyrics in my hand—15 songs. And I was so shocked the audience didn't walk out after Carole King and James Taylor. My voice went up an octave. I sang like a bird, ya know, really high, because I was so nervous.”
Earlier that day, probably because she was aware that her songs were being recorded by Columbia Records for posterity, Streisand rehearsed the orchestra and sound crew for four hours.
Steve Schapiro, who photographed her that evening, recalled that “at the first rehearsal, she had not sung for six weeks and the voice that came out was magnificent. It's just an incredible talent she has, and she's mastered it and driven it on.”
Streisand appeared onstage around 11 pm, following musical sets by Carole King, James Taylor, and Quincy Jones.
She wore a black satin pantsuit with a red tank-top underneath.
- Conductor: David Shire
- Vocal Director: Eddie Kendrix
- Engineer: Bill Schnee
- Background Singers: The Eddie Kendrix Singers
- Joe Guercio: medley design of “Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead” and “Sing/Make Your Own Kind Of Music.”
- Streisand's Set List:
- Sing / Make Your Own Kind Of Music
- Starting Here, Starting Now
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- Monologue (“Facing fears”)
- On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
- Sweet Inspiration / Where You Lead
- Didn't We
- My Man
- Stoney End
- Sing / Happy Days Are Here Again
From the album liner notes by Mort Goode:
It was April 15th. Springtime, 1972. A presidential election year. 18,000 citizens had gathered at the Forum in Los Angeles to make a personal statement, to join in and contribute to the first of a special series of fundraisers for Senator George McGovern's campaign, to hear “the most glamorous pop concert in recent Hollywood history.”
[...] a slow, “Happy Days” styled “Sweet Inspiration” that crashed into Carole's [King] “Where You Lead,” a four-black back-up choir, all wearing McGovern buttons, joining in to weave back into a churning “Sweet Inspiration,” Barbra leading them in a camp-Motown hand-jive choreography. Tambourines, horns, fast-clapping—the rock crowd was happy.
The Village Voice described the end of the concert:
Barbra Streisand had been singing hard for almost an hour and the audience of 19,000 was on its feet screaming its approbation. When McGovern with the rest of his star-studded entourage joined her on stage, the roar was deafening, sweet music to a politician's ears, the energy of 19,000 people surging toward the stage -- a great moment in show biz!
Of the concert that night, George McGovern recalled, “It was perfect ... [Streisand] just took that place by storm.”
Richard Nixon won the 1972 presidential election with 60.7% of the popular vote. The Watergate scandal, in which the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. were broken into, arrived in 1973. The FBI found that funds from Nixon's reelection campaign were used to pay the Watergate burglars. Eventually Richard Nixon resigned his presidency on August 9, 1974.
In 2008, at Warren Beatty's American Film Institute salute, Streisand recalled her work with him on the Forum concert:
“I did get to be in one Warren Beatty production: the concert for George McGovern in 1972. I wasn't doing live performances then, but Warren is very persuasive and impressive, as a matter of fact. He masterminded everything from the invitations to getting famous people to be ushers ... After all the insecurity and stage fright, I was really glad that Warren made me perform because it was for a man I truly admire.”
Related Link: Live Concert at the Forum album >>
[ top of page ]
Jump Menu Navigation ...
1960s Live Performances:
1970s & 1980s Live Performances:
1990s & 2000s Live Performances: