Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The free clinic...

In 1974, When the Dark Horse Tour came to California, George visited the Free Clinic in San Francisco. He spoke with some fans and he donated money to the clinic. Here is a short blurb about that visit.

Before his 1974 tour, he had decided that several concerts would be benefits, and he had heard about the plight of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic. The Free Clinic opened in 1967, the year of Harrison's first visit, and had survived the district's post-Summer-of-Love speed/rip-off/deterioration phase. The clinic had grown but had lost federal revenue-sharing money marked for 1975. It was set to shut down part of its medical sector, which, the previous year, spent $67,500 to treat 10,000 patients. Harrison donated net profits from his first Bay Area concert to the clinic -- a total of $66,000.

The day after that first concert, Harrison, future wife Olivia Arias, who was at that time working for his record label, Dark Horse, and several others visited the clinic. This time, he was no pied piper leading an adoring mass. Patients at the clinic recognized him. But, as founder Dr. David E. Smith said,

"Nobody gaped; nobody mobbed him or kissed his ass."

Harrison toured the clinic and chatted with several staff members.

"He said he hoped to start a ripple with other musicians doing the same kind of things," writer Amie Hill, a clinic volunteer, reported. "The doctors gave him a plaque, and someone told me he said, 'Don't thank me. It's not me, it's something else over us that acts through people like me. I'm just an instrument.' "

And as he spoke, he broke into one of his songs, "The Lord Loves the One."

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