Ford’s music career has spanned from the mid-1960s to the 21st century. Ford has toured and played with musicians such as Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, The Eagles, Frank Zappa, Marc Bolan/T. Rex, Blue Öyster Cult, ZZ Top, RUSH, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf, King Crimson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Preston, Cat Stevens, Roy Harper and Dave Mason. His versatility has let him play a wide range of venues from folk clubs to large scale international rock venues.
Early music projects as a teenager in the 1960s included The Five Proud Walkers, where Ford got his start. Jaymes Fender & the Vulcans landed Ford his first major record label signing with EMI, with the minor pop hit, “Mistletoe Love”, and thence onto Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, signing to Repertoire.
After playing in various bands, Ford’s unusual percussive style of bass playing caught the eye of Strawbs’ leader Dave Cousins during a performance at Cousins’ folk club in Hounslow. He joined Strawbs in May 1970, and Ford’s influence on the band, primarily known as a folk rock group, shifted them into a new direction in the progressive / art rock scene. Ford penned songs such as, “Heavy Disguise” and “Part of the Union”, Strawbs biggest chart hit, whilst working with David Bowie/T. Rex producer, Tony Visconti on A&M.
Ford received three gold discs and a platinum disc. A few years later, Ford and Richard Hudson, formed Hudson Ford, picking up the UK Singles Chart hits, “Pick Up The Pieces”, “Burn Baby Burn” and “Floating in the Wind”.
In 1979, Ford hit the charts again with The Monks, a punk project of sorts also picked up by EMI, with the surprise novelty double platinum hit, “Nice Legs Shame About the Face” from Bad Habitsand “Suspended Animation”. Ford also developed an alter ego in High Society with classic 1930s style melodies, releasing a self-titled album in 1984. In 1986, Ford relocated to the U.S., and started working on his solo project and shows.
Ford teamed up again with Strawbs for the 30 Year Reunion Tour in 1998, performing as bass guitarist and vocalist, after a hiatus since the late 1980s, and again for the 2001 Strawbs’ UK Spring Tour. In between, in 1999, Ford played on Ritchie Blackmore’s band Blackmore’s Night release Under a Violet Moon, their second international release, which featured Ford on “Wind in the Willows”. He also played some shows with the band.
In January 2004, Ford opened for Dave Mason at a Long Island concert venue.
July 2004’s Strawbs Summer UK Electric Tour, featured Ford on bass and vocals with the original UK electric line up from the 1970s. Some of his live performances can be viewed on DVD with “Strawbs Live in Tokyo” and “The Complete Strawbs – Live at Chiswick House”.
March 2006, Ford returned to UK for another Strawbs Electric Tour filmed and recorded for Lay Down with The Strawbs DVD/CD, featuring Ford leading, Part of the Union.
In September 2009, John Ford joined the Strawbs for their 40th Anniversary Weekend at Twickenham Rugby Stadium, London, which included keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The Live CD release for the event, Strawbs 40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 1: Strawberry Fayre released in 2010, features John Ford on two of his songs, “Together Apart” and “Floating in the Wind.”
Ford appears on Lay Down with the Strawbs the 2006 Strawbs UK Electric Tour features John Ford on “Kissed by the Sun,” “Heavy Disguise” and “Part of the Union” recorded and released by Secret Records and Films Ltd. UK.
April 2011, marked the release of John Ford’s latest album, Resurrected – The Best of and Then Some,a chronological collection of some of Ford’s solo material, in addition to five newly recorded songs.
2012 brought Ford, as founding member of UK band The Monks, a Double Platinum Record Award from EMI for Bad Habits whilst in Toronto, Canada in July, for a special Monks BAD HABITS Tribute show at the well known Horseshoe Tavern. The Monks’ Tribute show featured numerous members of top Canadian bands – including Sloan, The New Pornographers, C’mon, Cursed, and Small Sins – with Thomas D’Arcy at the helm, producing the tribute show. D’Arcy also put together the Bad Habitstribute album, on which Ford is featured. Plans are under way for Bad Habits going the route of Green Day’s American Idiot stage musical as a one-act, British punk rock opera production.
John Ford just completed two new Halloween songs – “Halloween – I’m The Nightmare in Your Dreams Club Mix” for the Space Drama pop, electronica dance project with, and rocking, “Halloween – There’s A Party Going On” with Ian Lloyd of Stories, for the Ford-Lloyd project. Ian Lloyd is best known as lead singer for No. 1 hit “Brother Louie” and founding member of Stories band. Lloyd sings the theme song for Louis C.K.’s hit comedy on FX – Louie.
Ford’s 2014 album release, No Talkin’ all instrumental, Surf Rock style album inspired by The Shadows and The Ventures—with Ford on lead guitar throughout, receiving critical acclaim.
2015, A Better Day, 10 old, new, borrowed, & blue tunes from John Ford. Featured Ian Lloyd of Stories & Edward Rogers, with a new take on Dave Cousins’ “Deep In The Darkest Night”.
On May 5, 2017, the first authorized Hudson Ford box set album, HUDSON FORD: The A&M Albums Box Set was released by Caroline International with in-house licensing. This long awaited, newly re-mastered and reissued box set features Nickelodeon, Free Spirit, Worlds Collide, plus bonus tracks and B sides.
Jaymes Fender and the Vulcans
- Mistletoe Love
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera
- Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera (1968)
- Ride a Hustler’s Dream (1969)
- Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (1970)
- From the Witchwood (1971)
- Grave New World (1972)
- Bursting at the Seams (1973)
Hudson Ford (John Ford and Richard Hudson)
- Nickelodeon (1973)
- Free Spirit (1974)
- When Worlds Collide (1975)
- Daylight (1977)
- Bad Habits (1979)
- Suspended Animation (1981)
- High Society (1984)
- Love is a Highway (Whole Shot Records 1998)
- Heading for a High (Whole Shot Records 2000)
- Natural High (Whole Shot Records 2002)
- Backtracking (Whole Shot Records 2004)
- Whatever Happened to Christmas? (Whole Shot Records 2005)
- New World EP (Whole Shot Records 2006)
- A Christmas Trilogy (Whole Shot Records 2006)
- Big Hit in India (Whole Shot Records 2008)
- Resurrected – The Best of and Then Some (Whole Shot Records 2011)
- No Talkin’ (Whole Shot Records 2014)
- A Better Day (Whole Shot Records 2015)
John Ford on Compilations
- The Fox Lies Down: A Tribute To Genesis – track: Carpet Crawlers (Cleopatra Records/Purple Pyramid 1998)
- Progressive Rock Epics – track: Carpet Crawlers (St. Clair Entertainment Group 2001)
- ROCK 4 XMAS All Stars Compilation – track: White Christmas (ROCK 4 XMAS 2005)
Jaymes Fender and the Vulcans
- Mistletoe Love
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera
- “Flames”/”Salisbury Plain” (1967)
- “Mary Jane”/”Dreamy” (1968)
- “Volcano”/”A Quick B” (1969)
- “Anna Dance Square”/”Don’t You Realise” (1969)
- “Black Jack Davy”/”Statesboro Blues” (1970)
- “She Keeps Giving Me These Feelings”/”There’s a Hole in My Pocket” (1970)
- “Where is This Dream of Your Youth”/”Fingertips” (1970)
- “Benedictus”/”Keep the Devil Outside” (1972)
- “Keep the Devil Outside”/”Tomorrow” (1972)
- “New World”/”Benedictus” (1972)
- “Here It Comes”/”Tomorrow” (1972)
- “Going Home”/”Ways and Means” (1972)
- “Lay Down”/”Backside” (1972)
- “Part of the Union”/”Will You Go” (1973)
- “Pick Up the Pieces”/”This is Not the Way to End a War (or Die)” (1973)
- “Take it Back”/Make No Mistake” (1973)
- “Burn Baby Burn”/”Angels” (1974)
- “Floating in the Wind”/”Revelations” (1974)
- “Free Spirit”/”Dark Lord” (1974)
- “When Love Has Overgrown”/What is a Day Without Love” (1975)
- “Waterfall”/”Daylight” (1976)
- “95 in the Shade”/”Lost in a World” (1976)
- “Sold on Love”/”Daylight” (1976)
- “Are You Dancing”/”Out of Your Shadow” (1977)
- “Just Say No” (2001)
- “We are the G.B.’s” / “The G.B. Jig” (1979)
- “Nice Legs Shame About the Face”/”You’ll Be the Death of Me” (1979)
- “I Ain’t Gettin Any”/”Inter-City Kitty” (1979)
- “Johnny B. Rotten”/”Drugs in My Pocket” (1979)
- “I Can Do Anything You Like”/”Monks Medley” (1981)
- “I Never Go Out in the Rain”/”I Could Never Live Without You” (1980)
- “Gotta Get Out of This Rut”/”Powder Blue” (1981)
- “Halloween – I’m The Nightmare in Your Dreams” (2012)
- “Halloween – There’s A Party Going On” (2012)