Apple Offers Concert for Bangladesh for Free (3 Days Only)

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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 Concert for Bangladesh

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

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My dad was in charge of the UN mission to rebuild Bangladesh after the independence war in 1973.
As a teenager, I obviously asked him about the concert, without expecting much, but he told me he actually got a check from them at the time, which I thought was pretty cool.

Bryan Chaffin

Super cool story, cbum! Thanks for stopping in. smile


As someone who works and lives in Bangladesh, this is very good to see. At the same time, I suspect that most Bangladeshis today are unaware of the concert’s having ever existed (it is a young population with most alive having been born since the War of Independence).

That said, Bangladeshis, as a nation, tend to be quite appreciative of acts on their behalf by the global community, and continue to work hard to strengthen their own economy.

Guest 23

Hi there… as a Bangladeshi I would like to pay my gratitude and respect for those who made the concert happen… especially, Ravi Shankar and G. Harrison. I think the writer failed to recognize another fact behind the concert. It was also a benefit concert for the people of Bangladesh who suffered the atrocities of Pakistan in their struggle for liberation. (reference wikipedia).

Saif Ahmed

The concert for Bangladesh wasn’t held to provide relief for cyclone victims, it was held to provide relief for war victims. The cyclone, which hit Bhola and was not called Bhola, did not result in an influx of refugees that the war caused. The concert was held about a year after the cyclone and in the middle of the war.

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