The Concert for Bangladesh (originally titled The Concert for Bangla Desh) is a live triple album by George Harrison and celebrity friends, released on 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 si
ngers 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”. 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.
- George Harrison – vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Ravi Shankar – sitar
- Bob Dylan – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
- Leon Russell – piano, vocals, bass, backing vocals
- Ringo Starr – drums, vocals, tambourine
- Billy Preston – Hammond organ, vocals
- Eric Clapton – electric guitar
- Ali Akbar Khan – sarod
- Alla Rakha – tabla
- Kamala Chakravarty – tambura
- Jesse Ed Davis – electric guitar
- Klaus Voormann – bass
- Jim Keltner – drums
- Pete Ham – acoustic guitar
- Tom Evans – twelve-string acoustic guitar
- Joey Molland – acoustic guitar
- Mike Gibbins – tambourine, maracas
- Don Preston – electric guitar, vocals (on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”/”Young Blood” and “Bangla Desh” only)
- Carl Radle – bass (on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”/”Young Blood” only)
The Hollywood Horns
- Jim Horn – saxophones, horn arrangements
- Chuck Findley – trumpet
- Jackie Kelso – saxophones
- Allan Beutler – saxophones
- Lou McCreary – trombone
- Ollie Mitchell – trumpet
The Soul Choir
- Claudia Linnear, Joe Greene, Jeanie Greene, Marlin Greene, Dolores Hall, Don Nix, Don Preston – backing vocals, percussion