The Concert for Bangladesh was the first benefit concert of its kind in that it brought together an extraordinary assemblage of major artists collaborating for a common humanitarian cause – setting the precedent that music could be used to serve a higher cause.
The concert sold out Madison Square Garden and along with the Grammy ® Award-winning triple-album boxset, and the feature film, has generated millions of dollars for UNICEF and raised awareness for the organization around the world, as well as among other musicians and their fans. It is therefore acknowledged as the inspiration and forerunner to the major global fundraising events of recent years.
To quote the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “George and his friends were pioneers.”
George and Leon Rusell backstage at The Concert for Bangladesh, New York, 1971…
George with Klaus Voormann, Jim Horn and the band during rehearsals for the concert for Bangladesh, New York, 1971…
The event was the first-ever benefit concert of such a magnitude and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan – both of whom had ancestral roots in Bangladesh – performed an opening set of Indian classical music
“It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” is a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally released on his seminal album Highway 61 Revisited, and also included on the compilation album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2 that was released in Europe. An alternate version of the song appears on The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3. “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” has been covered by numerous artists, including the seminal album Super Session featuring Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills, The Allman Brothers Band, Marianne Faithfull, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Stephen Stills, Ian Matthews, Leon Russell, Little Feat, Chris Smither, Taj Mahal, Steve Earle, Levon Helm and Toto
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