The Concert For Bangladesh
August 1, 2021 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Sunday, August 1, 1971, George Harrison (Beatle, Wilbury) got some of his friends together for two charity concerts. The Concert For Bangladesh [Wikipedia] is a film that documents those extraordinary concerts. You can watch it on Vimeo. [1h30m]
posted by hippybear (24 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, cool! I was just thinking about this film and album the other day, and wondered where it might have disappeared to. Thanks!
posted by Thorzdad at 12:58 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Dammit, I knew that looked funny...
posted by hippybear at 1:05 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


I remember my parents had the boxed set of the albums—I remember they came in an orange box and I remember listening to them on the big console stereo in our living room.
posted by bookmammal at 1:21 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Not included in the film for obvious reasons but worth the hearing alone:

Leon Russell, George Harrison et al. — Come on in My Kitchen
posted by y2karl at 1:55 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


NPR had a story about it the other day--they say it was the first major charity concert of its kind, a claim about which I'm a little bit skeptical, but haven't tried to debunk it.
posted by box at 2:23 PM on August 1


I have this on vinyl from Apple Records. It is indeed in an orange box, with a 64-page color insert with photos from each song performed, an essay about Bangladesh, and a short edited interview with Ravi Shankar. Shankar had the idea for the concert and asked Harrison to help plan it: "I thought I would ask George, even if he could not take part himself, if he would advise me, ask other artists about it, write or talk about it--something. Then maybe we could do a big function where we could raise 25 or 50 thousand dollars. So, when I talked with him, he was impressed by my sincerity, and I gave him lots to read and explain to the situation. And it was not only what I said, as an Indian, a Bengali. When he read so many things from so many countries; France, Germany, England, Norway, and the American press, which was giving such good coverage of what was happening to millions of people, suffering so much--he was very deeply moved and said he would be glad to help in the planning--even to participate. Things started moving very fast then." He goes on to say that they planned and held the concert in only 4 or 5 weeks.

The recording is very clear, no doubt because it was recorded with 44 microphones. You can hear the audience cheering and reacting, too, between songs. It's a great set, and I plan to put in on for a spin tonight. The whole record is great, but one standout is Bob Dylan's performance. Dylan is very hit or miss in live shows, but his rendition of Just Like A Woman here was especially fantastic and really is worth a listen.
posted by twelve cent archie at 2:46 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


the first major charity concert of its kind, a claim about which I'm a little bit skeptical

Then read all about it here. "The event was the first-ever benefit of such a magnitude" according to Rolling Stone.
posted by Rash at 3:44 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure I had this on vinyl, but no longer have any LP’s. Pretty much the best Here Comes the Sun ever.
posted by MtDewd at 3:49 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


That album seemed to be ubiquitous growing up; everyone seemed to have a copy and it was always very obvious in a stack of albums because the box was so gigantic.
posted by octothorpe at 4:02 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Listening to Harrison's Wah-wah right now, heck of a jam.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 PM on August 1




NPR had a story about it the other day--they say it was the first major charity concert of its kind, a claim about which I'm a little bit skeptical, but haven't tried to debunk it.


Yep I've heard this before elsewhere.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:59 PM on August 1


Thanks, hippybear. George is an old favorite of mine, IMO everything he touched was magical.
posted by sundrop at 6:06 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


A+, best of the web. thanks!
posted by j_curiouser at 6:25 PM on August 1


hippybear, I love your music posts! Thanks so much for posting!
posted by fussbudget at 6:51 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]



Not included in the film for obvious reasons but worth the hearing alone:

Leon Russell, George Harrison et al. — Come on in My Kitchen yt
posted by y2karl at 4:55 PM on August 1


That “et al.” is carrying a lot of weight. Great song and performance though!
posted by TedW at 7:42 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


It may seem odd that big, multi-act benefit concerts actually had a beginning; Farm Aid has been going on for decades, after all. But, yeah, I'm pretty sure that this was the first one. (It certainly wasn't Woodstock.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:59 PM on August 1


This was definitely the first big charity concert of this sort of size. I remember at the time just the idea of such a thing seemed almost ludicrous and bizarre to most in the media. And, honestly, it’s still hard to top.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:20 PM on August 1


Not included in the film for obvious reasons but worth the hearing alone
I'm a huge Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison fan and understand the context of their relationships and the song's lyrics, but I don't get this comment. This there something more than Pattie Boyd, which I don't think anyone (especially George Harrison) was really worked up about in 1971 or later.
posted by Schnauzer at 9:45 PM on August 1


I think it wasn't included in the film because it's a take from the rehearsals, and that's the reason. IIRC there are some Dylan/Harrison rehearsal takes floating around out there as well.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:10 PM on August 1


Nthing the "yeah this was first" verification. In Scorcese's documentary about George, they address the fact that this was first, and that apparently this caused them a lot of tax/accounting headaches after the fact because the accountants and lawyers literally didn't know how to handle the money and proceeds because it was a situation that no one had ever seen before.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:21 AM on August 2


Saw this in a theater when I was 13, and haven't seen it since. Loved it all, but the most vivid memory that sticks with me was how Billy Preston took us to church.
posted by Miss Cellania at 3:30 AM on August 2


Not included in the film for obvious reasons but worth the hearing alone.

Because that clip alone was so poorly framed and filmed.
posted by y2karl at 7:04 AM on August 2


I listen to the album as I go to sleep regularly. Sometimes I even make it past Ravi Shankar saying, "Thank you. If you appreciate the tuning so much, I hope you enjoy the playing more."
posted by DigDoug at 8:57 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


This was the only rock & roll LP my parents had when I was growing up and I used to listen to it a lot. My favourite song was Leon Russell's medley of Jumpin' Jack Flash and Youngblood. It really blows the doors off the joint.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:17 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


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