Apple is offering iTunes customers the chance to watch The Concert for Bangladesh, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s charity fund raising concert from 1971, for free for three days only starting on July 30th. The event included performances from Messrs. Harrison and Shankar, as well as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston.
The free concert film stream is to promote the addition of both the album from the event and the concert film to iTunes. Apple said that the album will include an iTunes LP version with special features and other material from the concert.
The Concert for Bangladesh was a one of the first major charity fund raising events organized by rock stars. It was held in 1971 to help with relief in Bangladesh after a cyclone named Bhola laid waste to the impoverished country in 1970.
According to Wikipedia, 40,000 people attended the two showings of the concert, both held the same day, and raised a then-staggering amount of US$243,418.51, which wasn’t bad for a bunch of long-haired, no-good hippy freeloadin’ SOBs.
Proceeds from the album and the movie still go to The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
It was also one of the first appearances of any Beatle following the breakup of that band. Ringo Starr joined George Harrison for the event, but neither Paul McCartney nor John Lennon was part of the event.
The video below is from the movie (posted to YouTube) of the concert of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” complete with Eric Clapton on lead (with George Harrison joining in with his own leads at the end) — it was Eric that recorded the solo on the The Beatles’ version of the song on The White Album.
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Concert for Bangladesh