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NEW ERIC CLAPTON DOCUMENTARY COMING NEXT YEAR – FEATURES INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE

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A new documentary about Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival before airing on Showtime in 2018.

The film features interviews with Clapton’s family, friends, musical collaborators, peers and heroes, including late musicians like B.B. King, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix.

Along with Life in 12 Bars, the 2017 Toronto International film Festival lineup boasts a few other music-related projects, including the world premiere of Sophie Fiennes’ new doc about new wave icon Grace Jones, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. Sam Pollard’s new documentary, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me will also debut at TIFF, while the festival will close with Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama’s new movie, Sheikh Jackson, about an imam whose life is upended by the sudden death of Michael Jackson. The Toronto Film Festival will take place September 7th to 17th. As for Clapton, the guitarist has a handful of live dates scheduled for this fall. He’ll play two nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City September 7th and 8th, as well as four shows at the Forum in Los Angeles September 13th, 15th. 16th and 18th.


CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH

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14 years before Live Aid, on 1 August 1971, George Harrison, along with his friend and mentor Ravi Shankar and a host of other stars, pulled off something that had never been achieved, or even attempted before: the two Concerts For Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden in New York.

George had been deeply moved when Shankar had brought to his attention the plight of millions of starving refugees, in what was formerly East Pakistan, who were suffering the effects of the Bhola cyclone of 1970 and the ‘Liberation War’ in their country. Five days before the concert, on July 27, George released his single ‘Bangla Desh’ on the Apple label, bringing this humanitarian crisis to the world’s attention in a way that only a world-famous former Beatle could. On the day of the single’s release, George and Ravi Shankar held a press conference to announce their ambitious concert that was to be held a few days later.

Following rehearsals in New York, the two concerts took place on 1 August at 2.30pm and 8pm in Manhattan in front of over 40,000 people. The audience was treated to a spectacular bill that included Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Shankar, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Hindustani musician Ali Akbar Khan, Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Bobby Whitlock, Don Preston, Jesse Ed Davies, Carl Radle and the Apple-signed band, Badfinger.

The concerts, like the album, began with Ravi Shanker accompanied by sarodya player Ali Akbar Khan, tabla player Alla Rakha and Kamala Chakravarty on tamboura, performing ‘Bangla Dhun’.

There then followed George along with Ringo, Eric Clapton (who was not well), Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Jim Keltner and eighteen other musicians. They performed ‘Wah-Wah’, ‘Something’, ‘Awaiting on You All’, ‘That’s the Way God Planned It’ sung by Billy Preston, Ringo’s ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, ‘Beware of Darkness’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ featuring both George and Eric Clapton. Leon Russell then took centre stage for the medley of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and the Coasters’ ‘Young Blood’.

George then performed ‘Here Comes the Sun’ with Badfinger’s Pete Ham on acoustic guitars and Don Nix’s gospel choir. George then picked up his white Fender Stratocaster and looked at the set list taped to the body of the guitar and saw ‘Bob?’ According to George: “And I looked around, and he was so nervous – he had his guitar on and his shades – he was sort of coming on, coming [pumps his arms and shoulders] … It was only at that moment that I knew for sure he was going to do it.” The audience went into raptures after a moment of quiet astonishment as this was Dylan’s first appearance before an American audience in half a decade.

For Dylan’s mini-set he was backed by Harrison, Leon Russell (playing Voormann’s bass) and Starr on tambourine; Dylan played five songs ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry’, ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’ and ‘Just Like a Woman’. After which George and the band returned to perform ‘Hear Me Lord’, ‘My Sweet Lord’ and ‘Bangla Desh’.

For the evening show, which is widely regarded as superior to the first show, the songs played and the sequence they were played in were slightly different. After George’s opening and closing mini-sets he played ‘Wah-Wah’ and brought ‘My Sweet Lord’ forward in the order. That was followed by ‘Awaiting on You All’ and then Billy Preston performed ‘That’s The Way God Planned It’. ‘Hear Me Lord’ was dropped in the evening so that the post-Dylan set was just ’Something’ and ‘Bangla Desh’. Dylan shuffled his set a little and played ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ in place of ‘Love Minus Zero/Mo Limit’.

Mixing the concert audio was undertaken at A&M Studios in Los Angeles during September. Music from both the afternoon and evening performances was used for the album; in the main it was the second show that was preferred. The songs from the afternoon show that were used are ‘Wah-Wah’, which starts with the evening version but cuts to the matinee, George’s band introduction, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and the Leon Russell medley.

The triple LP box set was released in the US on 20 December 1971 and 10 January 1972 in the UK. “Harrison & Friends Dish Out Super Concert For Pakistan Aid” was the headline for Billboard magazine’s news story in the August 14 issue. “Almost all of the music reflected what must have been the feelings of each musician who gave his time and tremendous efforts for free, to help a helpless country.”

The album entered the Billboard chart on 8 January 1972 and went to No.2 on the US chart, where it spent 6 weeks, never quite making it to the top spot. In the UK it topped the charts, three weeks after its release. The fundraisers generated an estimated $250,000 for famine relief in the country, close to $1.5 million in today’s terms. The concert was released as a DVD in 2005, and continues (along with the album) to raise funds for what is now called the George Harrison Fund For UNICEF.

In 2006, Olivia Harrison attended a ceremony at Madison Square Garden to mark the 35th anniversary of the concerts and to unveil a permanent plaque in the arena’s Walk of Fame. Today we have become so used to artists supporting causes with charity concerts, charity recordings, and in many other ways, and it is wonderful that people use their fame in this way. However, George was way ahead of the curve and his humanitarian work was groundbreaking – proving to be an inspiration for many that have followed.

George Harrison was a true humanitarian.


GEORGE’S ‘SGT.PEPPER’ VOX UL730 AMP GOES ON SALE

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Through reverb.com, Heritage Gear is selling one of the Vox UL730 amplifiers George used on the Beatles’ Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

This was actually one of George Harrison’s UL730s and comes with two provenance documents confirming it was his, It was used in the studio on both Revolver and Sergeant Pepper- it has germanium transistor pre amp and four EL84 valve output stage giving beautiful 30 plus watts.
It was featured on TV around 2011 , has been exhibited in the Beatles Story, Liverpool and several other museums and has also had Bonehead from Oasis playing some Beatles and Oasis tunes through it. One of the photos above shows the amp when it was exhibited in The Beatles Story Liverpool. The amp is now available for $108.725,42. It comes with a choice of two matching speaker cabinets to go with the amp, one of which would be an extra £7000.


CITY OF BENTON SAYS NO TO GEORGE HARRISON MURAL

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City of Benton says no to George Harrison mural

Benton City Council members nixed the idea of a proposed Beatles-themed mural near Interstate 57, saying it has no economic benefit to the city. Artist John Cerney had the idea of painting the 16-foot mural depicting George Harrison and his fans in Benton because of the story behind George visiting his sister Lousie there.

FENDER DEBUTS FOUR NEW SIGNATURE MODELS, INCLUDING GEORGE ROSEWOOD TELECASTER

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Fender has announced four new artist signature models at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville.
Fender’s latest artist signature models showcase the versatility of Fender’s sound across genres, while paying tribute to some of the music industry’s most-celebrated players and their vibrant stories; they include George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster, the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster, JMJ Road Worn Mustang Bass and EOB Sustainer Stratocaster.
George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster: Launching August 22 ($2,499.99)
To honor George Harrison’s venerable career, Fender has created the George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster, a limited-edition commemoration that embodies Harrison’s elegantly restrained playing style and sound. Based on the original Telecaster created for Harrison by luthier Roger Rossmeisl, this model remains true to its heritage with a classic look and the unique tone only an all-rosewood guitar can produce. The body is chambered for reduced weight and increased resonance.
Other features include a rosewood neck with a laminated 9.5″ radius rosewood fingerboard and a custom neck plate engraved with an “Om” symbol. A classic in every way, this refined instrument was born in the era that defined rock n’ roll. Harrison’s legacy is one of innovation and creativity, and the rosewood Telecaster became one of his primary instruments of choice. Only 1,000 units will be available worldwide.

NEVER BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS SHOW JOHN AND GEORGE REUNITING IN 1971

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The intimate photos were taken by a music executive in a New York apartment where Harrison asked his former bandmate to perform at the Concert for Bangladesh
Candid photographs showing John Lennon and George Harrison reuniting a year after the Beatles split are set to go under the hammer.
The intimate photos were taken by a music executive in a New York apartment where Harrison asked his former bandmate to perform in a landmark charity concert he was putting on for refugees in Bangladesh.
But soon after the pictures were taken things turned sour between the pair, as the meeting sparked a row between Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.
The pictures were taken by an executive for Apple Records and Decca who worked with Harrison and Lennon on the Beatles’ final album Let It Be.
The pictures were taken in July 1971, a month before the New York Concert for Bangladesh which Harrison organised in aid of refugees caught up in the genocide.
He kept hold of the photos for 46 years but has now decided to put them up for auction, where they are expected to fetch some £3,000.
In one, Lennon can be seen holding up a white John Lennon T-shirt. He is stood next to Harrison who is wearing a Yoko Ono T-shirt underneath his black jacket.
Another snap shows Lennon wearing a T-shirt and jeans, sporting his trademark round glasses as he sits on a sofa reading a newspaper.
Two more images show a smiling Harrison in the hallway and Lennon deep in concentration as he tried his hand at Japanese calligraphy.
Harrison had stipulated it was only Lennon he wanted to perform and not his musician wife, who was partly blamed for causing the Fab Four to break up.
When Lennon initially agreed to this he and Yoko argued before he pulled out of the concert.
Brendan Ryan, auctioneer at Butterscotch Auctions of New York, where the photos are being sold, said: ‘The consignor became involved with the Beatles when the Let It Be project came to New York to be remixed by Phil Spector.
‘He even filled in for Spector at times during his collaborations with John. He told me that John preferred to get to the studio around 6pm, but Spector would always show up at 9pm or later, and so he helped set up the sessions while they were all waiting for Spector to arrive.
‘While he worked with John in the studio, he said that he worked closer with George Harrison and became good friends with him.
‘He was one of the first people to hear All Things Must Pass in full and was instrumental in organising George’s Concert for Bangladesh in 1971.
‘The polaroid pictures are personal photographs taken by him, who was present during this New York meeting between John and George.
‘As such, they are quite rare, intimate images of the bandmates and give insight into how they would spend their free time and socialise.’
Towards the end of his Beatles career Harrison converted to Hinduism and became friends with Indian sita master Ravi Shankar who asked him to put on the benefit concert.
The Concert for Bangladesh was the collective name for two benefit gigs concerts held on August 1, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
They were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide.
Ringo Starr interrupted the filming of his movie Blindman in Spain in order to attend but Paul McCartney declined to take part, citing the bad feelings caused by the Beatles’ legal problems on their break-up.
The photos are being sold on July 16.