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The Concert for Bangladesh (album)


The Concert for Bangladesh (album)

The Concert for Bangladesh
George Harrison & Friends
Released 20 December 1971 (US)
10 January 1972 (UK)
Recorded 1 August 1971 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Length 99:32
Label Apple
George Harrison chronology
All Things Must Pass
The Concert for Bangladesh
Living in the Material World
Alternative cover
Cover for the 2005 remastered release

The Concert for Bangladesh – originally titled The Concert for Bangla Desh – is a Apple Records in December 1971 in America and January 1972 in Britain. The album followed the two concerts of the same name, held on 1 August 1971 at New York's Madison Square Garden, featuring Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and Eric Clapton. The shows were a pioneering charity event, in aid of the homeless Bengali refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War, and set the model for future multi-artist rock benefits such as Live Aid (1985) and the Concert for New York City (2001).

Co-produced by Phil Spector and featuring the latter's signature Wall of Sound in a live setting, the fundraiser album was delayed for three months due to protracted negotiations between Harrison and two record companies keen to protect their business interests, Capitol and Columbia/CBS. Besides the main performers, the musicians and singers on the recording include Badfinger, Jim Horn, Klaus Voormann, Alla Rakha, Jim Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis and Claudia Linnear. The box set's original packaging included a 64-page book containing photos from the concerts; the album cover, designed by Tom Wilkes, consisted of an image of a malnourished child sitting beside an empty food bowl.

On release, The Concert for Bangladesh was a major critical and commercial success, topping albums charts around the world, and went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in March 1973. Together with the 1972 Apple concert film directed by Saul Swimmer, the album gained Indian classical music its largest Western audience up until that time. The album was reissued in 2005, in remastered form, featuring a new cover.

Among the many words of acclaim that have been written about The Concert for Bangladesh since its release, author Tom Moon describes it as an album to play "whenever your faith in the power of music begins to wane".[1] Sales of The Concert for Bangladesh continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, which raised $1.2 million for children in the Horn of Africa, in a 2011 campaign marking the album's 40th anniversary.


  • The concerts 1
  • Album preparation 2
    • Concert recordings 2.1
    • Post-production 2.2
  • Record company obstruction 3
  • Album artwork 4
  • Release 5
    • Reissue 5.1
  • Critical reception 6
    • On release and through the 1970s 6.1
    • Legacy 6.2
  • Track listing 7
    • Original release 7.1
    • 2005 remaster 7.2
  • Personnel 8
  • Accolades 9
    • Grammy Awards 9.1
  • Charts and certifications 10
    • Weekly charts 10.1
    • Year-end charts 10.2
    • Certifications 10.3
  • Notes 11
  • Citations 12
  • Sources 13
  • External links 14

The concerts

That whole show was a stroke of luck. I'd rehearsed some with Ringo, the horn players and the guys from Badfinger, but it was all happening so fast it's amazing we managed to get anything on tape [for a live album].[2]

– George Harrison to Musician magazine, November 1987

While in Los Angeles in June 1971, and after being made aware of the gravity of the situation in what was then known as Madison Square Garden, New York, to aid the war-ravaged and disaster-stricken country.[4] In the middle of these hurried preparations,[5] he composed the song "Bangla Desh" in order to call further attention to the Bengalis' cause, and rush-released it as a charity single four days before the shows.[6][7] Riding high with the recent success of his All Things Must Pass triple album,[8][9] Harrison then headlined the all-star UNICEF benefit concerts, backed by a 24-piece[10] band of musicians and singers, on Sunday, 1 August 1971.[11] Equally notable were appearances by fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan, both of whom, like Harrison, had been mostly unavailable to concert audiences for several years.[12][13] In Dylan's case, it was his first appearance on a major US concert stage in five years,[14] and his participation in the event had been uncertain until he walked on for his segment midway through the afternoon show.[15]

The concerts were highly successful in raising international awareness of the plight of the refugees[16][17] – thought to number up to 10 million[3] – and a cheque for over US$243,000 was soon sent to UNICEF for relief.[18] The media lavished praise on Harrison as an ambassador for rock altruism[19][20] and hailed the event as proof that "the Utopian spirit of the Sixties was still flickering", as Rolling Stone magazine put it.[21] With concert recording having been carried out at Madison Square Garden by Gary Kellgren,[22] using the Record Plant's 16-track mobile unit,[23] Harrison intended to raise significantly more money via a live album of the event, to be issued on the Beatles' Apple Records label,[24] followed by Apple Films' concert documentary, also to be titled The Concert for Bangladesh.[25]

Album preparation

During his and Shankar's press conference in New York on 27 July,[26] Harrison had stated that a live album might be ready for release within ten days of the shows.[27] Although this estimate would turn out to be highly optimistic,[23] the following year, in an effort to foil concert bootleggers, Elvis Presley succeeded in delivering a live album just eight days after his own, much-publicised Madison Square Garden shows.[28]

Harrison and co-producer Phil Spector began working on the Bangladesh recordings on 2 August, and work continued there at the Record Plant for around a week.[22][29] Spector later talked of them spending "six months" mixing what amounted to a total of four hours of music;[30] in fact, the process took just over a month,[29] as Harrison told talk-show host Dick Cavett that November.[31][32] In their book Eight Arms to Hold You, Chip Madinger and Mark Easter question the extent of Spector's involvement, citing Harrison's subsequent lauding of Kellgren's role in "capturing the performances" on 1 August, as well as the fact that Spector was "in and out of hospital" during this time,[23] similar to his erratic attendance at the All Things Must Pass sessions in 1970.[33][34]

Concert recordings

Speaking in 2011, Spector identified two issues that prolonged the live album's preparation, both of them reflective of the haste with which the concerts came together: "It was chaos [setting up at Madison Square Garden] – we had three hours to mic the band, then the audience came in, and we didn't know how to mic the audience."[30] And rather than a standard "band", this was a full Wall of Sound orchestra:[13][35] two drummers (Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner), two keyboard players (Billy Preston and Leon Russell), six horn players (led by Jim Horn), three electric guitarists (Harrison, Eric Clapton and Jesse Ed Davis), a trio of acoustic guitars to be "felt but not heard"[36] (Badfinger's Pete Ham, Tom Evans and Joey Molland), the seven members of Don Nix's "Soul Choir", together with bassist Klaus Voormann and a dedicated percussion player, Mike Gibbins of Badfinger.[10][37][38] In his review of the Concert for Bangladesh film for NME, John Pidgeon described the scene as "a roadie's nightmare of instruments, mikes, amps and speakers".[39]

Before the Western portion of the concerts, there were the traditionally hard-to-record Indian string instruments[40] of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan to amplify, together with Alla Rakha's tabla and the drone-enhancing tambura, played by Kamala Chakravarty[41] – each offering natural musical tones so easily lost in the "cavernous Garden".[42] An additional challenge for Kellgren had been the need to capture the dynamics of a well-paced show designed around professionally presented hit songs, rather than a loose superstar jam.[43][44][nb 1]


With ongoing friendships a priority,[46] Harrison had promised the main participants that, should things turn out badly on 1 August, they could be excluded from any album or film release.[47] According to Madinger and Easter, he took early mixes of the concert tapes to Dylan for the latter's approval.[23][nb 2] Of all the featured performers, only Leon Russell chose to intervene, necessitating a reworking of his "Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood" medley,[23] which he apparently remixed himself.[48] Post-production on the Madison Square Garden recordings was minimal, the known examples being Harrison's double-tracked lead vocal on the bridges of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and a composite edit of his opening song, "Wah-Wah", which was assembled from both the shows.[23] In addition, it is possible that Shankar and Khan's "Bangla Dhun" was severely edited down:[49] Harrison later described their set as having lasted 45 minutes, yet the running time on the album is under seventeen minutes and in the film just fifteen.[23]

The final mix down of the recordings, for album and film use, was carried out in Los Angeles in September,[23] by A&M Studios engineers Norman Kinney and Steve Mitchell.[50] In their joint interview for the 2005 Concert for Bangladesh Revisited documentary, Kinney and Mitchell confirm that music from both the afternoon (matinee) and evening performances was used for the concert film and live album; they also state that Spector repeatedly instructed them to increase the volume of the audience in the mixes, in a search for more "feel of the room" in the end result.[50] The second show was preferred when it came to selecting the best concert audio.[29][51] The exceptions are as follows: "Wah-Wah", which starts off with the evening version but cuts to the matinee at 2:53;[nb 3] Harrison's band introduction and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", both sourced from the first show; and Russell's medley, which is also from the matinee on the album, but in the concert film, the audio cuts to the evening show during "Youngblood".[23][52]

Harrison's geniality as a host was well represented on the recordings.[53] As with Shankar's pre-"Bangla Dhun" address, Harrison's band introductions, complete with Russell and Voormann breaking into "Yellow Submarine" when Starr's name is mentioned,[54] and his other on-stage dialogue – particularly the concert-sealing "Like to bring on a friend of us all ... Mr Bob Dylan" – would become as integral to the legacy of the event as the music itself.[55][56]

Record company obstruction

Capitol Records' headquarters, in Hollywood, California

On 23 August, press reports appeared citing "legal problems" as the reason behind the delaying of the much-anticipated live album[57] – problems that would turn out to be a disagreement between EMI-owned Capitol Records (Apple's US distributor) and Columbia Records (Dylan's label) over who had a rightful claim to release the album.[58][59] Columbia/CBS were eventually mollified with the granting of tape distribution rights in North America, and record and tape distribution in the rest of the world.[49][60] Another stumbling block was Capitol's insistence that they receive monetary compensation, thought to be around $400,000,[61] for what the company perceived to be vast production and distribution costs for the boxed three-record set.[62] It was a position from which EMI chairman Bhaskar Menon refused to budge, while Harrison was equally adamant that, since all the artists were providing their services for free and Apple was supplying the album packaging at no charge, the record company "must give up something" also.[59][63]

With the sound mix being completed in LA, Harrison spent most of September 1971 in New York working on the problematic film footage of the concert,[18][47] before heading to London.[64] There he attended the re-opening of Apple Studio on 30 September[65] and produced new signing Lon & Derrek Van Eaton's debut single,[66] as well as enduring a fruitless meeting with the British Treasury's financial secretary – the latter activity in an attempt to have the government waive its standard purchase tax, and so keep the album affordable to record-buyers.[67][68] Harrison returned to New York on 5 October and announced that the Bangladesh live album would be issued during the following month.[67] At this time, with concert bootlegs now on the market,[49][58] posters were placed in record shops bearing the slogan: "Save a starving child. Don't buy a bootleg!"[67]

This record should've been out a month ago really ... and the problem is with our distributor [Capitol Records] ... I mean, I'll just put it out with CBS and, you know, Bhaskar will have to sue me. [raises fist] Bhaskar Menon![69][70]

– Harrison discussing the album's delay on The Dick Cavett Show, 23 November 1971

In the fourth week of November – well into the lucrative Christmas sales period and close to four months after the concerts[23][71] – Harrison voiced his frustration at the stalemate with Capitol on ABC's late-night chat show, The Dick Cavett Show.[61] Harrison was on the program to promote the Raga documentary with Shankar,[72] but after making a surprise guest performance with Gary Wright's new band Wonderwheel, he launched into a complaint about his US record company's interference and threatened to take the whole album package to Columbia.[69][73] With the outburst attracting unfavourable attention in the press, where Capitol were viewed as "profiteering on the backs of famine victims",[24] the company eventually backed down and agreed to release the album on Harrison's terms.[59][63] Of all the labels involved, only Columbia would make any money from The Concert for Bangladesh – 25 cents on every copy sold.[63] Although none of these royalties went to the artist,[63] Dylan and his record company were already benefiting from the exposure provided by the Bangladesh concerts, through the timely release of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II.[74][nb 4] Of the other featured artists at the Concert for Bangladesh, the careers of both Preston (A&M Records) and Russell (Shelter) likewise prospered as a result of their participation,[77] but their record companies imposed no such conditions on Apple and Capitol.[29][69][nb 5] In January 1972, Melody Maker‍ '​s Richard Williams remarked in his Concert for Bangladesh album review: "Between them, Capitol and CBS have proved that, when it comes to awareness and enlightenment, the business is still several years behind the musicians."[83]

Once the album had been granted a release date, Apple's financial terms ensured that as much money as possible would be raised from each copy sold, but that it would be difficult for retailers to profit financially.[49] Some retailers responded with "shameless price gouging" on the three-record set,[84] apparently at Capitol's recommendation.[49] Following the protracted negotiations surrounding the live album's distribution, Harrison's disaffection with EMI/Capitol was a key factor behind his signing with A&M Records in January 1976.[85][86][nb 6]

Album artwork

The album booklet's back cover, showing a cheque for the concerts' box-office takings above a guitar case packed with emergency supplies; copyright Apple Records

The album's packaging was designed by Camouflage Productions partners Tom Wilkes and Barry Feinstein,[89] the same team responsible for All Things Must Pass, rock music's first boxed triple album.[90][91] Along with Alan Pariser, both Wilkes and Feinstein had taken stills photographs at Madison Square Garden, at the soundcheck on 31 July and during the concerts the next day, the results filling the 64-page full-colour booklet accompanying the original album.[89] Also used as the Concert for Bangladesh movie poster, the album-cover photograph – the "haunting" image of a malnourished young child sitting naked behind a wide, empty food bowl, author Bruce Spizer writes[89] – was a still taken from news agency film footage and airbrushed extensively by Wilkes.[92] Having created the provocative, headline-filled picture sleeve for Harrison's "Bangla Desh" single earlier in the year,[93] Wilkes was keen to capture "real human compassion" in this cover and poster image.[94]

The booklet's back-cover picture showed an open guitar case filled with food and medical supplies, below a copy of the cheque for the Madison Square Garden box-office takings.[89] Wilkes intended this image to convey a sense of hope, signifying the completion of the task that the participants had set out to achieve for the refugees from East Pakistan.[94]

The three vinyl LPs and booklet were housed inside a deep orange-coloured box.[89][95] The 1991 CD release placed the cover photo on a white background, however,[96][97] replicating the front of the original album booklet.[98] As commentators noted in 1991, the necessary downsizing to CD dimensions meant that much of the effectiveness of the booklet photography was lost,[99] not least because the contents had also been trimmed down to just 36 pages.[100]

Further changes to Camouflage's design concept occurred for the 2005 CD remaster and DVD release. In 1971, Capitol executives had been concerned that the cover image was too "depressing" and uncommercial, according to Jon Taplin,[101] who served as production manager at the Madison Square concerts;[102] Harrison had been resolute, however, and so Wilkes's design was used.[101] In October 2005, four years after Harrison's death, the remastered Concert for Bangladesh releases appeared with a photo of him on the cover, although the special-edition DVD retained the original image.[103]


The Concert for Bangladesh was released in the United States on 20 December 1971, and in Britain on 10 January 1972,[104] with the same Apple Records catalogue number (STCX 3385) in both territories.[105] The retail price for the lavishly packaged triple album was set at $12.98 in America[49] and an extraordinarily high £5.50 in the UK,[58] due to the purchase tax surcharge there.[68] The prices drew some criticism,[49] from Harrison for one,[63] even if it was accepted that the proceeds were going to those in desperate need[106] – or, as Beatles Forever author Nicholas Schaffner wrote in 1977, to "a nation still viewed as the worst pocket of misery on earth".[107] Similarly, the relief project's funds controversy and tax problems, which came to light shortly after the release of the live album, were a source of frustration and embarrassment to Harrison,[62] but commentators have noted that these problems took nothing away from the "resounding success"[108] of Harrison and Shankar's Bangladesh relief project.[74]

Despite the cost, the album was an immediate commercial success.[109][110] In America, it spent six weeks at number 2 on the Billboard Top LPs chart,[111] kept from the top by Don McLean's American Pie,[109] which was one of the top-selling albums there for 1972.[112] On the other US charts, compiled by Cash Box and Record World, the live album peaked at number 2 and number 1, respectively.[109] In the UK, The Concert for Bangladesh became Harrison's second number 1 album, after All Things Must Pass in early 1971.[113] The album was certified gold by the RIAA on 4 January 1972 for sales of over 500,000 units.[114]

In March 1973, The Concert for Bangladesh‍ '​s significance was further underlined when it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.[115][116] In Harrison's absence, Ringo Starr attended the awards ceremony in Nashville and carried off a tray of Grammys, one for each of the featured performers.[117][118] Author Peter Lavezzoli writes that, with the success of the live album and Saul Swimmer's concert documentary, which opened in US cinemas in March 1972,[119] Indian classical music reached its largest Western audience to date through the Concert for Bangladesh.[120]


The Concert for Bangladesh was first issued on CD on 30 July 1991 in America and 19 August in Britain.[121] It was presented as a two-disc set, with significant editing of the breaks between songs.[122] Having stated his disappointment in a 1988 interview that the album had been allowed to go out of print,[123] Harrison recorded a promotional interview on the 20th anniversary of the concerts, to accompany the CD release.[124]

Harrison was working on a reissue of the album and film before his death in November 2001.[125] Although the project was due for release the following year,[126] it did not take place until 24 October 2005.[77] The album was remastered for this release, with the heavily revised packaging credited to Wherefore Art?,[127] and the addition of Dylan's afternoon-show performance of "[141] To the Rolling Stone writer, the highpoint of the album was the closing "Bangla Desh", whose lyrics were no longer "an expression of intent but of an accomplished mission".[141] Landau had praise for the pacing and professionalism of the entire show, the only "incongruous" moment being Leon Russell's "Jumpin' Jack Flash"/"Youngblood" segment, since it was straight from the singer's usual repertoire.[141]

The NME‍ '​s Roy Carr and Tony Tyler were equally generous in their appraisal of "probably the greatest indoor rock 'n' roll event ever held"; to them, Bob Dylan's five-song set "easily justified" the album's price tag.[58] As at the time of the concerts,[142][143][144] much was made by album reviewers of the change in Dylan's singing voice, as well as his choice of songs, which harked back to the so-called "protest period" of 1962–64 and the subsequent creative zenith that culminated in his Blonde on Blonde album (1966).[36][141][145]

Having attended the concerts six months before, Ed Kelleher of Circus magazine was relieved to discover that the live album didn't just do justice to the "magic ... the sheer joy" of the event, but rather its music "practically jumps right out into your life".[145] After singling out as defining moments Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" ("it's enough to make you cry and smile at once"), Russell's medley and Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun", along with the talents of Shankar – "the most masterful and accomplished of them all" – Kelleher admitted to the futility of trying to identify "individual highlights" on an album that was "one consistent high".[145] In fact, almost every selection on the three-record set was named as a highlight by one reviewer or another: Preston's "That's the Way God Planned It" coming as a "sheer delight" to Landau,[141] Harrison's "Something" especially "delicate and moving" to Playboy‍ '​s album reviewer,[146] Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" resonating most with Nicholas Schaffner,[36] while to Richard Williams, "Just Like a Woman" was "the masterpiece".[83]

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was a track that received significant attention, thanks to the guitar "duelling" between Harrison and his ailing friend, Eric Clapton.[147] Writing in Rolling Stone Press' Harrison tribute, Greg Kot views the performance as "a snapshot of early-Seventies rock royalty";[148] yet their joint soloing was about friendship, writes musical biographer Simon Leng, rather than the "six-string ego battles" or "macho showdowns" so typical of that decade.[149] Author Tom Moon describes their interplay as two guitarists "finish[ing] each other's thoughts".[1] In The Village Voice‍ '​s inaugural Pazz & Jop poll, critics voted The Concert for Bangladesh the eighth best album out of all releases for that year.[150]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [151]
Blender [152]
Mojo [153]
MusicHound 4/5[154]
Music Story [155]
Q [156]
Record Collector [157]
Rolling Stone [158]
Uncut [159]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music [155]

While the technical imperfections of the concert recordings were overlooked in 1972 – or even applauded for their adding to the "honesty" of the moment, in the case of Starr's fluffed vocal being retained on "It Don't Come Easy"[141] – reviewers of the first CD-format album remarked on the relatively poor sound quality.[151][160][nb 9] In his review for AllMusic in 2001, Bruce Eder noted the "less-than-perfect sound" while still viewing the album as a "unique live document showcasing Harrison near his best".[151] Another point of contention, though mainly among Harrison's biographers, concerns Leon Russell. Alan Clayson bristles at the omnipresence of the Oklahoman singer and musician – "the epitome of the self-satisfied sexism of the Delaney and Bonnie super-sidemen", Clayson writes – and the fact that his turn in the spotlight so blatantly became "The Leon Russell Show".[162] Leng likewise bemoans Russell's "consciously extreme hollerin'", and finds his delivery pales beside the "unaffected naïveté" of Billy Preston and particularly the "knife-edge emotions" of Harrison and Shankar, which only Dylan can match.[163]

The Concert for Bangladesh is continually viewed in a highly favourable light, its cultural significance increased with the passing decades.[158][164] Among reviews of the 2005 reissue, [77] Writing in Rolling Stone that year, Anthony DeCurtis said: "The Concert for Bangladesh is rightly enshrined in rock history as the model for Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8 and every other superstar benefit concert of the last three decades ... In emphasizing the concert's idealism, however, it's easy to overlook what a musical gem this two-disc set is."[158] Dan Ouellette of Billboard considered that "The star-studded package holds up well as a live greatest-hits collection", before concluding: "But the revelation is the exhilarating concert lift-off, the improv-laced eastern Indian classical tune 'Bangla Dhun,' featuring sitar master Ravi Shankar."[165]

In his entry for the album in 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, Tom Moon advises his readers: "Pull this out whenever your faith in the power of music begins to wane."[1] The Concert for Bangladesh also features in Sean Egan's 2006 book 100 Albums That Changed Music and in The Mojo Collection: The Greatest Albums of All Time.[155]

Track listing

Original release

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "George Harrison/Ravi Shankar Introduction"   Ravi Shankar 5:19
2. "Bangla Dhun"   Shankar Shankar 16:40
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
3. "Wah-Wah"   Harrison Harrison 3:30
4. "My Sweet Lord"   Harrison Harrison 4:36
5. "Awaiting on You All"   Harrison Harrison 3:00
6. "That's the Way God Planned It"   Billy Preston Preston 4:20
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "It Don't Come Easy"   Richard Starkey Ringo Starr 3:01
2. "Beware of Darkness"   Harrison Harrison, Leon Russell 3:36
3. "Band Introduction"   Harrison 2:39
4. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"   Harrison Harrison 4:53
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
5. "Medley: Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood"   Mick Jagger, Keith Richards/Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Doc Pomus Russell, Don Preston 9:27
6. "Here Comes the Sun"   Harrison Harrison 2:59
Side five
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"   Bob Dylan Dylan 5:44
2. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"   Dylan Dylan 3:07
3. "Blowin' in the Wind"   Dylan Dylan 4:07
4. "Mr. Tambourine Man"   Dylan Dylan 4:45
5. "Just Like a Woman"   Dylan Dylan 4:49
Side six
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
6. "Something"   Harrison Harrison 3:42
7. "Bangla Desh"   Harrison Harrison 4:55

2005 remaster

Disc one

The first disc contains ten tracks from side one to side three of the original release.

Disc two

The second disc contains nine tracks from side four to side six of the original release.

Bonus track
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
10. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"   Dylan Dylan 4:19
Bonus track (iTunes exclusive)
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
11. "Bangla Desh" (studio version) Harrison Harrison 4:00


Credited as "The Artists":

The Band:

The Hollywood Horns:

The Backing Vocalists/Soul Choir:

  • Claudia Linnear, Jo Green, Jeanie Greene, Marlin Greene, Dolores Hall, Don Nix, Don Preston – backing vocals, percussion


Grammy Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1973 The Concert for Bangladesh Album of the Year[115] Won

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts


  1. ^ To this end, Harrison had insisted that Dylan's set feature the singer's best-known composition, "Blowin' in the Wind",[43][45] even though Dylan had not performed it live for eight years.[15]
  2. ^ Dylan also assisted Harrison with editing the film footage in New York.[18][46]
  3. ^ This edit on "Wah-Wah" is more noticeable in the Concert for Bangladesh film, due to the inclusion there of Jim Horn's sax solo, which was cut from the album.[23]
  4. ^ This compilation, sporting a cover photo of Dylan taken from the concert,[75] included the original version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and went on to become the best-selling album in the artist's catalogue.[76]
  5. ^ For Billy Preston, a former Apple artist and protégé of Harrison's, this benefit came in the form of a career breakthrough with his first album on A&M,[78] I Wrote a Simple Song, released in November 1971.[79] Harrison played dobro on the album's title track,[80] while the instrumental "Outa-Space", originally the B-side of "I Wrote a Simple Song",[81] became the first of four million-selling singles for Preston in the US between 1972 and 1974.[82]
  6. ^ Harrison's disenchantment with record companies' "avaricious dithering",[85] as well as apathy on the part of Western governments towards the problems in Bangladesh,[87] inspired songs on his Living in the Material World album (1973), notably "The Day the World Gets 'Round".[88]
  7. ^ Among other changes in the running order after the matinee performance, Dylan replaced "Love Minus Zero" with "Mr. Tambourine Man" for the evening show[36] and Harrison dropped "Hear Me Lord".[130] The latter remains the only song played at the Concert for Bangladesh that has not received an official release.[131]
  8. ^ While promoting the release in October 2005, Olivia said that part of the reason for the reissue not taking place in 2001 was that Harrison had been sent the wrong master tapes to work on. She added that he had then contacted Spector, who supplied the correct version.[134]
  9. ^ Simon Leng goes so far as to rate The Concert for Bangladesh second only to the "awful" Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977) in terms of poor-sounding live albums.[161]


  1. ^ a b c Tom Moon, 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, Workman Publishing Company (New York, NY, 2008); quoted in The Super Seventies "Classic 500", – George Harrison and FriendsThe Concert For Bangla Desh (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  2. ^ Timothy White, "George Harrison: Reconsidered", Musician, November 1987, p. 55.
  3. ^ a b Lavezzoli, p. 187.
  4. ^ Clayson, p. 308.
  5. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 189.
  6. ^ Leng, pp. 112, 114.
  7. ^ Madinger & Easter, pp. 434–35.
  8. ^ Neal Alpert, "George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh", Gadfly Online, 3 December 2001 (retrieved 12 March 2013).
  9. ^ Lavezzoli, pp. 187, 189.
  10. ^ a b Castleman & Podrazik, pp. 195–96.
  11. ^ Leng, p. 115.
  12. ^ Schaffner, pp. 146–47.
  13. ^ a b c Interview with Jann Wenner, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  14. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 154.
  15. ^ a b Heylin, p. 329.
  16. ^ Tillery, p. 99.
  17. ^ Interviews with Kofi Annan and Charles J. Lyons, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  18. ^ a b c Clayson, p. 315.
  19. ^ a b Inglis, p. 36.
  20. ^ Tillery, pp. 100–01.
  21. ^ Schaffner, p. 148.
  22. ^ a b Badman, p. 45.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Madinger & Easter, p. 436.
  24. ^ a b Leng, p. 121.
  25. ^ Rodriguez, p. 51.
  26. ^ Badman, p. 43.
  27. ^ "The Making of the Album" feature, The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  28. ^ Guralnick, pp. 469–70.
  29. ^ a b c d Spizer, p. 241.
  30. ^ a b Olivia Harrison, p. 286.
  31. ^ Pieper, p. 41.
  32. ^ The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  33. ^ Clayson, p. 289.
  34. ^ Harris, p. 72.
  35. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 122.
  36. ^ a b c d Schaffner, p. 147.
  37. ^ Clayson, pp. 309–11.
  38. ^ Leng, p. 117.
  39. ^ John Pidgeon, "George Harrison et al.: The Concert For Bangla Desh", NME, 15 July 1972; available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required; retrieved 15 July 2012).
  40. ^ MacDonald, p. 147.
  41. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 191.
  42. ^ Schaffner, p. 146.
  43. ^ a b Clayson, p. 310.
  44. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, pp. 42, 123.
  45. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 42.
  46. ^ a b Badman, p. 79.
  47. ^ a b George Harrison, pp. 60–61.
  48. ^ Clayson, p. 314.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g Spizer, p. 242.
  50. ^ a b Interview with Norman Kinney and Steve Mitchell, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  51. ^ Badman, p. 44.
  52. ^ Spizer, p. 243.
  53. ^ Leng, pp. 120–21.
  54. ^ Spizer, pp. 242, 243.
  55. ^ Clayson, p. 312.
  56. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, pp. 43, 122.
  57. ^ Badman, p. 46.
  58. ^ a b c d Carr & Tyler, p. 99.
  59. ^ a b c Interview with Bhaskar Menon, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  60. ^ Woffinden, p. 52.
  61. ^ a b Tillery, p. 100.
  62. ^ a b The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 43.
  63. ^ a b c d e Badman, p. 58.
  64. ^ Badman, pp. 47, 49.
  65. ^ Rodriguez, p. 84.
  66. ^ "Fresh From Apple: Lon & Derrek Van Eaton", Apple Records (retrieved 20 May 2012).
  67. ^ a b c Badman, p. 50.
  68. ^ a b Clayson, p. 316.
  69. ^ a b c Badman, pp. 54–55.
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  71. ^ Spizer, pp. 239, 242.
  72. ^ Rodriguez, p. 321.
  73. ^ "Big Bop Baby", Contra Band Music, 4 May 2012 (retrieved 23 March 2013).
  74. ^ a b Woffinden, p. 51.
  75. ^ Interview with Barry Feinstein, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  76. ^ Sounes, pp. 269–70.
  77. ^ a b c Richard S. Ginell, "The Concert for Bangladesh (Bonus Track)"George Harrison , AllMusic (retrieved 9 April 2015)
  78. ^ Rodriguez, pp. 73–74.
  79. ^ Castleman & Podrazik, p. 106.
  80. ^ Leng, p 108.
  81. ^ Ed Hogan, "Billy Preston 'Outa-Space'", AllMusic (retrieved 16 March 2013).
  82. ^ Spizer, p. 340.
  83. ^ a b c d Richard Williams, "The Concert for Bangla Desh (album review)", Melody Maker, 1 January 1972; available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required; retrieved 15 July 2012).
  84. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 193.
  85. ^ a b Clayson, p. 345.
  86. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 44.
  87. ^ Harrison, p. 226.
  88. ^ Leng, pp. 134–35.
  89. ^ a b c d e Spizer, p. 245.
  90. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 40.
  91. ^ Schaffner, p. 140.
  92. ^ Matt Hurwitz, "Interview with Tom Wilkes", Goldmine, 12 November 2004.
  93. ^ Spizer, p. 236.
  94. ^ a b Interview with Tom Wilkes, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  95. ^ "Various – The Concert For Bangla Desh (Vinyl, LP, Album)", Discogs (retrieved 6 July 2012).
  96. ^ "The Concert For Bangla Desh", Graham Clakin's Beatles Pages, 2002 (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  97. ^ "Various – The Concert For Bangladesh (CD, Album)", Discogs (retrieved 6 July 2012).
  98. ^ Spizer, pp. 245, 247.
  99. ^ Billboard album review: The Concert for Bangladesh CD, Billboard, August 1991; quoted in The Super Seventies "Classic 500", – George Harrison and FriendsThe Concert For Bangla Desh (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  100. ^ Madinger & Easter, p. 438.
  101. ^ a b Interview with Jon Taplin, in The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited.
  102. ^ George Harrison, p. 60.
  103. ^ Amazon listing: "The Concert for Bangladesh (Limited Deluxe Edition) (2005)", (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  104. ^ Madinger & Easter, p. 634.
  105. ^ Castleman & Podrazik, p. 108.
  106. ^ Rodriguez, p. 92.
  107. ^ Schaffner, p. 150.
  108. ^ The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, p. 419.
  109. ^ a b c Spizer, p. 239.
  110. ^ Clayson, pp. 315, 318.
  111. ^ Castleman & Podrazik, p. 363.
  112. ^ a b "Year End Charts – Year end Albums (1972)",, 2007 (archived version retrieved 15 May 2015).
  113. ^ a b "Number 1 Albums – 1970s", Official Charts Company (archived version retrieved 10 June 2011).
  114. ^ Castleman & Podrazik, p. 332.
  115. ^ a b "Past Winners Search", (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  116. ^ Badman, p. 91.
  117. ^ Rodriguez, p. 139.
  118. ^ Michael Willard, "Roberta Flack Tops Grammys", The Gazette, 5 March 1973 (retrieved 25 July 2012).
  119. ^ Badman, p. 70.
  120. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 194.
  121. ^ Badman, p. 464.
  122. ^ Madinger & Easter, pp. 438, 634.
  123. ^ Mark Ellen, "A Big Hand for the Quiet One", Q, January 1988, p. 65.
  124. ^ Badman, p. 465.
  125. ^ Charles Shaar Murray, "George Harrison et al: Concert for Bangla Desh", Mojo, March 2002; available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  126. ^ Mark Wallgren, "Awaiting on you all – George Harrison reissue update", Goldmine, 25 January 2002, p. 58.
  127. ^ Booklet accompanying The Concert for Bangladesh reissue (Sony BMG, 2005; produced by George Harrison & Phil Spector).
  128. ^ Madinger & Easter, pp. 436–37.
  129. ^ Leng, p. 120.
  130. ^ Clayson, pp. 312–13.
  131. ^ (CD 2)"The Concert For Bangla Desh Complete"George Harrison – , Bootleg Zone (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  132. ^ Richie Unterberger, [DVD]"The Concert for Bangladesh"George Harrison , AllMusic (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  133. ^ "Concert for Bangladesh Revisited with George Harrison and Friends (2005) – Full cast and crew", IMDb (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  134. ^ Bill Harris (Toronto Sun), "Interview with George Harrison's widow", Jam!, 22 October 2005 (retrieved 20 October 2015).
  135. ^ Kevin Howlett's liner notes, booklet accompanying Living in the Material World reissue (EMI Records, 2006; produced by Dhani & Olivia Harrison).
  136. ^ a b "The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF asks 'Help us save some lives': Concert for Bangladesh 40th Anniversary", UNICEF, 13 October 2011 (retrieved 30 October 2013).
  137. ^ "Concert for Bangladesh 40th Anniversary & UNICEF Month of Giving",, 26 July 2011 (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  138. ^ "UNICEF's Month of Giving raises more than USD $1 million",, 19 December 2011 (retrieved 14 March 2013).
  139. ^ Schaffner, pp. 147–48.
  140. ^ Greene, p. 193.
  141. ^ a b c d e f Jon Landau, "Concert for Bangla Desh"George Harrison, , Rolling Stone, 3 February 1972 (retrieved 23 May 2012).
  142. ^ O'Dell, p. 201.
  143. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, pp. 122–23.
  144. ^ Don Heckman, "The Event Wound Up as a Love Feast", Village Voice, 5 August 1971 (retrieved 14 May 2012).
  145. ^ a b c Ed Kelleher, "The Concert For Bangla Desh album review", Circus, March 1972; quoted in The Super Seventies "Classic 500", – George Harrison and FriendsThe Concert For Bangla Desh (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  146. ^ Playboy album review: The Concert For Bangla Desh, Playboy, April 1972; quoted in The Super Seventies "Classic 500", – George Harrison and FriendsThe Concert For Bangla Desh (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  147. ^ Clayson, p. 313.
  148. ^ The Editors of Rolling Stone, p. 188.
  149. ^ Leng, pp. 118, 120.
  150. ^ "The 1971 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll", (retrieved 1 August 2014).
  151. ^ a b c Bogdanov, Woodstra & Erlewine, p. 181.
  152. ^ Paul Du Noyer, "Back Catalogue: George Harrison", Blender, April 2004, pp. 152–53.
  153. ^ a b "George Harrison & Friends, The Concert for Bangladesh", Mojo, December 2005, p. 130.
  154. ^ Graff & Durchholz, p. 529.
  155. ^ a b c "The Concert for Bangladesh"Various Artists , Acclaimed Music (retrieved 10 November 2014).
  156. ^ John Bauldie, "Re-releases: Various Artists The Concert For Bangla Desh", Q, October 1991, p. 126.
  157. ^ Joe Shooman, "George Harrison & Friends The Concert For Bangladesh", Record Collector, Christmas 2005, p. 91.
  158. ^ a b c Anthony DeCurtis, "Concert For Bangladesh (Reissue)"George Harrison, , Rolling Stone, 20 October 2005, p. 98 (retrieved 24 May 2012).
  159. ^ Nigel Williamson, "All Things Must Pass: George Harrison's post-Beatles solo albums, Uncut, February 2002, p. 60.
  160. ^ Leng, pp. 116, 117.
  161. ^ Leng, p. 116.
  162. ^ Clayson, pp. 310, 313–14.
  163. ^ Leng, pp. 117, 118.
  164. ^ Chris Jones, (DVD) Review"Concert For Bangladesh"George Harrison & Friends , BBC Music, 2 November 2005 (retrieved 13 March 2013).
  165. ^ Dan Ouellette, "The Concert for Bangladesh"George Harrison and Friends , Billboard, 29 October 2005, p. 70 (retrieved 10 April 2015).
  166. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts – 25 March 1972", (retrieved 13 April 2014).
  167. ^ 100 Albums, 19 February 1972"RPM", Library and Archives Canada (retrieved 16 March 2013).
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  172. ^ "Billboard Hits of the World", Billboard, 27 May 1972, p. 52 (retrieved 12 February 2012).
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  • Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001; ISBN 0-7119-8307-0).
  • Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra & Stephen Thomas Erlewine (eds), All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music (4th edn), Backbeat Books (San Francisco, CA, 2001; ISBN 0-87930-627-0).
  • Roy Carr & Tony Tyler, The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, Trewin Copplestone Publishing (London, 1978; ISBN 0-450-04170-0).
  • Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976; ISBN 0-345-25680-8).
  • Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003; ISBN 1-86074-489-3).
  • The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited with George Harrison and Friends DVD, Apple Corps, 2005 (directed by Claire Ferguson; produced by Olivia Harrison, Jonathan Clyde & Jo Human).
  • The Editors of Rolling Stone, Harrison, Rolling Stone Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY, 2002; ISBN 0-7432-3581-9).
  • Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2).
  • Joshua M. Greene, Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ, 2006; ISBN 978-0-470-12780-3).
  • Paul Guralnick, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, Abacus (London, 2002; ISBN 0-349-11168-5).
  • John Harris, "A Quiet Storm", Mojo, July 2001.
  • George Harrison, I Me Mine, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA, 2002; ISBN 0-8118-3793-9).
  • Olivia Harrison, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Abrams (New York, NY, 2011; ISBN 978-1-4197-0220-4).
  • Clinton Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades (20th Anniversary Edition), Faber and Faber (London, 2011; ISBN 978-0-571-27240-2).
  • Ian Inglis, The Words and Music of George Harrison, Praeger (Santa Barbara, CA, 2010; ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3).
  • Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006; ISBN 0-8264-2819-3).
  • Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006; ISBN 1-4234-0609-5).
  • Ian MacDonald, Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties, Pimlico (London, 1998; ISBN 0-7126-6697-4).
  • Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, 44.1 Productions (Chesterfield, MO, 2000; ISBN 0-615-11724-4).
  • The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside/Rolling Stone Press (New York, NY, 1995; ISBN 0-684-81044-1).
  • Chris O'Dell with Katherine Ketcham, Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved, Touchstone (New York, NY, 2009; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4).
  • Jörg Pieper, The Solo Beatles Film & TV Chronicle 1971–1980, (2012; ISBN 978-1-4092-8301-0).
  • Robert Rodriguez, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980, Backbeat Books (Milwaukee, WI, 2010; ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4).
  • Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY, 1978; ISBN 0-07-055087-5).
  • Howard Sounes, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Doubleday (London, 2001; ISBN 0-385-60125-5).
  • Bruce Spizer, The Beatles Solo on Apple Records, 498 Productions (New Orleans, LA, 2005; ISBN 0-9662649-5-9).
  • Gary Tillery, Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, Quest Books (Wheaton, IL, 2011; ISBN 978-0-8356-0900-5).
  • Bob Woffinden, The Beatles Apart, Proteus (London, 1981; ISBN 0-906071-89-5).

External links

  • Official website
  • The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited with George Harrison and Friends at the Internet Movie Database
Preceded by
Goud van Out by Various artists
Dutch MegaCharts number-one album
15 January – 19 February 1972
Succeeded by
Harvest by Neil Young
Preceded by
Electric Warrior by T. Rex
UK Albums Chart
number-one album

29 January 1972 – 5 February 1972
Succeeded by
Electric Warrior by T. Rex
Preceded by
Det året det var så bratt by Øystein Sunde
Norwegian VG-lista number-one album
06 – 09 / 1972
Succeeded by
Det året det var så bratt by Øystein Sunde

"If you buy only one LP in 1972, make it this one," Richard Williams wrote in Melody Maker,[83] echoing the goodwill felt throughout the music press towards the Bangladesh relief project.[13][19] Williams lavished praise on every one of the triple album's seventeen selections: Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan's interplay towards the end of "Bangla Dhun" made for a "marvellous opening" (like "Charlie Parker trading licks with Johnny Hodges", he noted); Harrison's trio of All Things Must Pass tracks were "[u]nbelievably ... in some ways even better" than the originals, with Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner's drumming "just breathtaking" on "Awaiting on You All"; Billy Preston's "That's the Way God Planned It" was "feverishly exciting", the audience "absolutely wild" by the end of the song. "Can all this be happening?" Williams asked, even before moving on to the second of the three discs.[83]

On release and through the 1970s

Critical reception

Sales of the album and DVD continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.[135][136] In 2011, as one of the fund's projects to mark the 40th anniversary of the concerts and the live album's release,[136] and in conjunction with UNICEF's "Month of Giving" campaign,[137] the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF raised over $1.2 million in emergency relief for children in famine- and drought-stricken areas of the Horn of Africa.[138]

[nb 8][133].Olivia Harrison which was directed by Claire Ferguson and co-produced by [132]

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