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Stones: $352,000 For Nicaraguan Quake Fund

Band's benefit show last January raised money for earthquake recovery efforts

The Rolling Stones perform at a benefit concert for Nicaraguan earthquake victims on January 18th, 1973 in Inglewood, California.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
June 21, 1973

Washington, D.C. — The Rolling Stones benefit last January for the earthquake victims of Nicaragua has resulted in a donation to the relief fund of $352,274.

Mick and Bianca Jagger, along with Bill Graham, producer of the concert, flew into Washington from New York early this month to present a check in that amount to Senator Jacob Javitz, in a quick session in senatorial chambers. Javitz, in turn, gave the check to Sy Rotter, executive director for the Pan American Development Foundation.

The Stones and Graham decided on the foundation as the recipient of the money, and Pan Am, said Graham, will "see that these funds are channeled through whatever channels there may be, so that in the end, the earthquake victims will find some relief." Graham said no final decisions on ultimate disbursement of the monies will be made without further consultations with him and Jagger.

Shortly after the earthquake hit Managua, Nicaragua, on December 23rd, the Jaggers visited the capital city, where Bianca's mother lives. Meanwhile, Graham coordinated various groups wanting to do benefits into one show, and, with promoter Barry Fey of Denver, put together the concert at the Forum in Los Angeles, with the Stones supported by Santana and Cheech and Chong. Tickets were scaled between $10 and $100; the potential gross was close to $500,000, but sales of the top tickets fell short by some $50,000 worth.

Final, audited figures showed that ticket sales still reached $410,285. Graham sheltered the money under a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation called Benefits, Inc., which was incorporated less than a week before the concert; the money earned $2744 in interest from short-term investments. Expenses, including city taxes, rental of the Forum, production and travel, accounting, auditing, administrative and legal costs, amounted to $60,755, leaving the donated $352,274.

The check presentation was attended by various consuls, delegates and children of senators, there to ogle Jagger. At one point, a consul referred to the benefactor as "Mike Yaeger." The Rolling Stone, said Graham, was "somewhat disappointed that Washington didn't respect — didn't take the time to know who he was. The whole thing was bombastic, there was no real emotion to it. Just these bodies there looking at this man giving them a lot of money. It was a glimpse of politico-rama." Still, he said, Jagger played the gentle man, thanking everyone for coming, then joining his summer-dressed wife and the suited Graham for lunch with Mrs. Javitz.

This is a story from the June 21, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone.

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