The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Harrison-Ford ’74

One of the most famous Oval Office pictures of all-time has inspired a new movie, Elvis & Nixon. I have not seen it yet but how can I resist Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick and Michael Shannon (best known to me at least as Agent Van Weirdo in Boardwalk  Empire) as Elvis?

The movie, in turn, inspired me to look for pictures of rock stars with Presidents *before* it became commonplace. Rock music was still for the kids in 1974, which was why it was fun to stumble into the Harrison-Ford pictures. No, not the actor; he was still a carpenter and part-time actor at that point. I’m talking about the Beatle, not one of the Oval Ones named Harrison: George Harrison.

In 1974, George became the first former Beatle to launch a full-blown North American tour. It was something of a disaster: George struggled with laryngitis during the Dark Horse tour. It was more like the dark hoarse tour now that I think of it.

One of the few highlights of that bad  Georgian experience was being received at the White House by His Accidency, Gerald Ford. Ford remains the only Oval One to be elected neither President nor Veep. It was one reason he was glad to counter the looming Reaganite challenge with some star power of his own. Reflected glory is still glory, y’all.

The brief Beatle encounter was the idea of Ford’s then long-haired son, Jack. There’s even video of the occasion:

It’s picture time. I’ve selected two photos, one in glorious black and white; the other in color with Ravi Shankar in the foreground:

Billy Preston, George Harrison, and President Ford.
Harrison 1974 tour color
George, Jerry, Jack, and Ravi with the boys in the band.

All this dark horsing around has given me an earworm. It is not, however, from that tour. I’d rather hear George in good voice than croaking like a Beatley frog. This comes from 1971’s Concert for Bangladesh: