Tuesday 29 November 2016


22-year-old Jack Ford enjoyed the show in 1974. The son of newly inaugurated President Gerald Ford caught the November 16th concert in Salt Lake City, and used his influence to get backstage and meet the headliners. Ford invited Harrison and the band to drop by the White House if they had the chance.

On December 13th, the young Ford greeted Harrison, his father Harry Harrison, and tourmates Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston and saxophonist Tom Scott outside the White House before welcoming them into the solarium for a lunch of beef and vegetables – while Dark Horse played in the background. After a quick tour of the Executive Mansion led by Jack's sister Susan Ford, they waited in the Cabinet Room to meet with the president himself. "We walked into the presidents' conference room with the oval table and the chair and signs saying, 'Secretary of Defense,' 'Secretary of this and that' and we sat down in the chairs, clowning around," recalls Scott. The group even managed to find the house piano and staged a short jam session while they waited.
Soon they were ushered into the Oval Office for their not-so-formal meeting with President Ford. "George was great at breaking the ice," Scott told Rolling Stone at the time. Mindful of a priceless opportunity to promote one of his major platforms, Ford pinned a WIN ("Whip Inflation Now") button on Harrison, who gave him an "Om" button in return. "[Ford] took us into this little side room where he had all this WIN paraphernalia – posters, watches, sweaters, T-shirts," said Scott. "It looked just like the back room at [Harrison's label] Dark Horse Records, which is loaded with T-shirts and bags and towels."

George and Ford spoke for close to 20 minutes, reportedly touching on John Lennon's deportation drama, which had been largely orchestrated by Ford's predecessor, Richard Nixon. White House photographer David Kennerly was on hand to document the historic moment.

While George admitted that Ford was "not all that familiar with my music," he found the president a congenial host. "He seemed very relaxed. He was much easier to meet than I would expect. You can imagine the number of things he's got on his plate."

No comments:

Post a Comment