Friday, January 14, 2011

Concert for Bangladesh: The Album

The main Beatles fact for this LP is that the album was taped on August 1, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the proceeds for the album intended for the refugees in Bangladesh following the 1970 cyclone that hit the country (and because of the murders committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War). The concert itself raised over $250,000, with later LP sales generating an additional $15 million. The money was held for years by the IRS since concert organizers had not filed for a tax-exempt status. Harrison was furious over this development, and the amount of money actually sent to Bangladesh years later was never precisely known.

The album was released in the U.S. shortly before Christmas, 1971 (Apple), and was released in the U.K. (Sony) right after New Year's, 1972. A re-edited CD version was released in 2005 on Apple/Rhino.

Two shows were performed at the Garden, one at noon, and the other at 7 p.m. Both were taped, but it was the evening show that was taped for theatrical release. Harrison was joined onstage by Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, and others. It was Ravi Shankar who originally brought the situation in Bangladesh to Harrison's attention.

The track listing is as follows:

Side One:

Intro with George Harrison
Bangla Dhun (Ravi Shankar)

Side Two

My Sweet Lord
Awaiting on You All
That's the Way God Planned It (Billy Preston)

Side Three

It Don't Come Easy (Ringo Starr)
Beware of Darkness (George Harrison, with Leon Russell)
Band introductions by George Harrison
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George Harrison, with Eric Clapton playing lead guitar)

Side Four

Jumpin' Jack Flash/Young Blood Medley (Leon Russell and Don Preston)
Here Comes the Sun (George Harrison, with help from Badfinger on acoustic guitar)

Side Five

(All tracks performed by Bob Dylan, with backing from George Harrison, Leon Russell, and Ringo Starr)
A Hard Rain's A'Gonna Fall
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
Blowin' in the Wind
Mr. Tambourine Man
Just Like a Woman

Side Six


Bonus Track on the 2005 re-master

Love Minus Zero/No Limit (a Bob Dylan rehearsal track)

The featured stars did the following instrumentation and vocals:

Vocals (Harrison, Dylan, Preston, Starr)
Guitar (Harrison, Clapton, Dylan, Badfinger)
Keyboards (Preston, Russell)
Harmonica (Dylan)
Sitar (Shankar)

Ravis Shankar's backing musicians included Kamala Chakravarty (tamboura), Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (sarod), and Ustad Alla Rakha (tabla).

Members of the backing band played the following instruments:

Rhythm/Acoustic guitars (Tom Evans, Pete Ham, Jesse Ed Davis, Don Preston)
Bass guitar (Klaus Voormann, Carl Radle)
Drums (Jim Keltner)
Tambourine (Mike Gibbins)

The horn section was comprised of the Hollywood Horns, featuring Allan Beutler, Chuck Findley, Jim Horn, Ollie Mitchell, Lou McCreary, and Jack Kelso.

Backing vocalists included Jo Green, Jeanie Green, Don Nix, Claudia Linnear, Dolores Hall, and Marlin Greene.

Post-production and mixing were handled at New York City's Record Plant, as well as A&M Studios in Los Angeles.

The Concert for Bangladesh won a Grammy in 1973 for Album of the Year.

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