LAT Runs ‘Brown for President’ Rock Photos from 1979 

Brown/Ronstadt Pin (eBay / devotedreader)
eBay / devotedreader

The Los Angeles Times has released a series of classic photos from yesteryear showing California Gov. Jerry Brown in 1979 during and after a fund-raising rock concert for his 1980 run for the White House.

Brown challenged incumbent president Jimmy Carter, but was overshadowed by Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who also launched a campaign and narrowly missed winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

The pictures show Brown hugging Glenn Frey of The Eagles, who joined the band Chicago and Brown’s then-girlfriend Linda Ronstadt to perform at the San Diego Sports Arena on December 21, 1979. Photographers eager to get pictures of Brown and Ronstadt found themselves empty-handed when the duo eschewed appearing with each other. When Brown appeared on stage at the end of the concert, fans booed him, the Times notes.

Three days after the San Diego concert, Ronstadt performed in Las Vegas. Brown, seated in the third row, clambered on stage to join her when she sang, “My Boyfriend’s back.” The Times obtained no photos of their commingling.

Brown’s 1980 campaign featured three chief planks: opposing nuclear power, a position catalyzed by the 1979 Three Mile island nuclear accident; urging a constitutional convention to ratify a balanced budget amendment; and providing more funding for the space program. Unlike today, when Brown has championed ObamaCare, he opposed Kennedy’s call for national health insurance.

Brown joined Ralph Nader, Jane Fonda, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell at a rally in May 1979 at the Capitol to protest nuclear power. Economic guru Milton Friedman called Brown’s support for a balanced budget amendment “the kiss of death.”