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With A Little Help From Their Friends
August 30, 2007 2:52 AM   Subscribe

In 1971, George HarrisonRIP and Ravi Shankar organized, promoted, and put on The Concert for Bangladesh – the first high-profile rock concert to raise money (administered by UNICEF) for humanitarian causes – at NYC's Madison Square Garden.

Performances: Ravi Shankar { Bangla Dhun } George Harrison and band { Wah Wah, My Sweet Lord, Awaiting On You All, That's The Way God Planned (composed/performed by Billy Preston), It Don't Come Easy (composed/performed by Ringo Starr), Beware of Darkness (featuring Leon Russell on guest vocals), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (featuring Eric Clapton on lead guitar), Jumping Jack Flash/Young Blood Medley (performed by Leon Russell), Here Comes The Sun (featuring Pete Ham) } Bob Dylan { A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall/It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, Blowin' In The Wind, Just Like A Woman, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, If Not For You (soundcheck duet with George Harrison) } [Encore!, Encore!]
posted by Poolio (37 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very nice. I've only seen a few of these performances before.
posted by pruner at 3:08 AM on August 30, 2007


That's the best version of Love Minus Zero/No Limit I've ever heard. And it was actually sung by Dylan, of all people.
posted by Optamystic at 3:23 AM on August 30, 2007


That's the best version of Love Minus Zero/No Limit I've ever heard.

Same here, Optamystic.
posted by Poolio at 3:26 AM on August 30, 2007


Sadly, after having just seen him live a few weeks ago, I really needed to see that clip to remind me of some things.
posted by Optamystic at 3:31 AM on August 30, 2007


I last saw Dylan in October 2001 and he was barely comprehensible back then.
posted by Poolio at 3:34 AM on August 30, 2007


Hey, thanks for the post, Pooliolioliolioliolio!

And this is the perfect chance to link to some rather entertaining and interesting George Harrison interviews, from the old Dick Cavett show, done just after the whole Bangladesh thing, in the same year of 1971. Recommended! Here they are:

Part 1
2
3
4
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:20 AM on August 30, 2007


flapjax... the Cavett Show interview is the "promoted" link. :)
posted by Poolio at 4:22 AM on August 30, 2007


D'oh!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:23 AM on August 30, 2007


Or, I should say, D'ohliolioliolioliolio!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:24 AM on August 30, 2007


LOL... I was originally gonna tack it on as a comment, but at the last minute I decided to throw it in at the beginning.
posted by Poolio at 4:25 AM on August 30, 2007


Clapton looks pretty fucked up during "When My Guitar Gently Weeps"... this was during his heroin addiction period, right?
posted by Poolio at 4:28 AM on August 30, 2007


Love Minus Zero - glorious - thank you!
posted by Rain Man at 4:59 AM on August 30, 2007


I think some of that stuff from "All Things Must Pass", particulary "Wah Wah", "My Sweet Lord", and "Awaiting On You All", is some of the most ecstatic pop music ever written. I love it. What a great event.

To see things a few years down the road, there's also a DVD out of the "Concert for George" celebrating the first anniversery of his death at Royal Albert Hall. A lot of the same material with a slightly different cast of characters.
posted by hwestiii at 5:33 AM on August 30, 2007


I should second hwestiii - that concert is my favourite 'all star jam' even ever. Maestro Shankar's contribution to the first half, Arpan, is amazing. I'd like to think that George, were he alive to hear it, would've been deeply touched. Clapton does a great job of leading a great band without playing every solo and singing every lead line. Dhani is spookily similar to his father and does a fine job on rhythm guitar.

Harrison was a massively underrated guitarist and a uniquely influential human (culturally speaking). I often wonder if Westerners would've embraced things like yoga with such gusto if it weren't for his influence.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:05 AM on August 30, 2007


I think some of that stuff from "All Things Must Pass", particulary "Wah Wah", "My Sweet Lord", and "Awaiting On You All", is some of the most ecstatic pop music ever written.

"All Things Must Pass" is one of the finest albums ever released, IMO, which of course bleeds over to this concert from that era. I'm solidly a fan of his whole career, but he never came close to that level of consistent genius again.

Poolio, this is [GOOOOD].
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:17 AM on August 30, 2007


What a great find. For every silly video on Youtube, there is great treasure like this that I otherwise would never have seen or heard again. Thank you, Poolio, and thank you, Internet!
posted by cavalier at 6:22 AM on August 30, 2007


Ravi Shankar turns out to be Nora Jones' father.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 AM on August 30, 2007


George Harrison had a hard time convincing Bob Dylan to play. Dylan hadn't performed live for a while. He wasn't sure people even wanted to see him. Mick Jagger wanted to play but was unable to get a visa.
posted by Sailormom at 6:33 AM on August 30, 2007


Ya, I'm a huge George Harrison fan and that concert was fantastic.
I would highly reccomend getting the DVD of this, I got it a few years ago. There's some interesting insight on it, for example, as Poolio mentioned, Clapton was pretty messed up on heroin and he comments that he wasn't thinking "straight" and brought entirely the wrong guitar (the big hollow-body) for While My Guitar Gently Weeps. There's also some rehearsal footage and Ringo mentions that Dylan completely changed the time signature of Hard Rain's Gonna Fall when they actually performed it, which is why the others don't join in at first, they're trying to figure out what they hell he's doing.
But one of my favourite moments of the concert has to be Billy Preston's euphoric funky chicken dance halfway through That's the Way God Planned it. Amazing.
posted by chococat at 7:03 AM on August 30, 2007


the fact that they didn't play "with a little help from my friends" tells you everything you need to know about those days. Apparently there was actually a time when performers declined to do the hokey and obvious thing.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:12 AM on August 30, 2007


Gee, why are there no pop divas flouncing on stage to perform their latest single? Oh wait, that only happens at benefit concerts in this era. It used to be you had to be an actual musician to get up there and play.

get off my lawn, you damn kids!
posted by Ber at 9:24 AM on August 30, 2007


This version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps from the RR Hall of Fame tribute blows me away every time. It's a great clip to show people who think they don't like Prince.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:43 AM on August 30, 2007


Great post and thread. (I'm especially excited to dig into those Dick Cavett interviews a little later!) It's good to know I'm not the only George fanatic 'round these parts...
posted by scody at 9:44 AM on August 30, 2007


not by a long shot, scody!

Thanks, Poolio!
posted by Space Kitty at 12:44 PM on August 30, 2007


Seconding Rain Man: that Love Minus Zero is perfect. Thanks!
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:16 PM on August 30, 2007


In the 3rd part of the Dick Cavett interview, George talks about how he mistrusted the Red Cross because he had heard how there had been hurricanes in Texas and they had favored giving aid to whites rather than blacks. He didn't quite backtrack on it later in the interview (when pressed by Cavett) but qualified it a little. In any case, it struck a chord given what was going on in Texas and nearby Louisiana exactly two years ago.
posted by Sk4n at 1:40 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow.

And to think I used to take these guys for granted.
posted by Twang at 2:09 PM on August 30, 2007


Hey chococat, this is the best funky chicken dance I have seen.

cool as usual poolio.
posted by vronsky at 3:22 PM on August 30, 2007


Are my eyes playing tricks, or is that Leon Russell on bass during Love Minus Zero?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2007


Not all that well lit, but it sure seems so. Harrison on electric guitar and you gotta notice Ringo on tambourine, man.
posted by Rain Man at 7:59 PM on August 30, 2007


thanks for this linkage. In following my nose I discovered that Dylan borrowed the lyrical structure of It's a Hard Rain from an old English song, Lord Randall - interesting.
posted by grubby at 8:21 PM on August 30, 2007


This is really "Something" amazing to behold - from the tribute concert to George Harrison.
posted by New Frontier at 9:29 PM on August 30, 2007


Those all-star jams usually put me to sleep new frontier, but that was really sweet.
posted by vronsky at 9:49 PM on August 30, 2007


Thanks, Poolio. Fantastic post.
posted by kryptondog at 6:38 AM on August 31, 2007


Heh. If you watch That's the Way God Planned and look behind Billy Preston there is a guy singing back up wearing a cowboy-like hat. That guy is my kid's grandfather (ex-wife's father). I knew he'd been involved but never took the time to check for videos.
posted by Carbolic at 2:46 PM on August 31, 2007


That's very cool, Carbolic.
posted by Poolio at 2:52 PM on August 31, 2007


Gee, why are there no pop divas flouncing on stage to perform their latest single? Oh wait, that only happens at benefit concerts in this era. It used to be you had to be an actual musician to get up there and play.

George wouldn't even let Yoko Ono perform. John Lennon was supposed to, but he supposedly got in a fight with Yoko a day or two before the concert over his agreement with George that she wouldn't perform, and he left the city and missed the concert.
posted by Poolio at 3:20 PM on August 31, 2007


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