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|Location(s)||Madison Square Garden, New York City|
|Founded by||George Harrison, Ravi Shankar|
|Date(s)||1 August 1971|
|Location(s)||Madison Square Garden, New York City|
|Founded by||George Harrison, Ravi Shankar|
|Date(s)||1 August 1971|
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was spelt originally) was the name for two benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, held at 2.30 and 8 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, playing to a total of 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the civil war-related Bangladesh atrocities. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films' concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972.
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 another legend of Indian music, Ali Akbar Khan, performed a separate set. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: "In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion ..."
The concerts raised close to US$250,000 for Bangladesh relief, which was administered by UNICEF. Although the project was subsequently marred by financial problems − a result of the pioneering nature of the venture − the Concert for Bangladesh is recognised as a highly successful and influential humanitarian aid project, generating both awareness and considerable funds as well as providing valuable lessons and inspiration for projects that followed, notably Live Aid. By 1985, through revenue raised from the Concert for Bangladesh live album and film, an estimated $12 million had been sent to Bangladesh in relief.
Sales of the live album and DVD release of the film continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
As East Pakistan struggled to become the separate state of Bangladesh during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the political and military turmoil and associated atrocities led to a massive refugee problem, with at least 7 million displaced people pouring into neighbouring India. East Pakistan had recently endured devastation as a result of the Bhola cyclone, and the Bengalis' desperate plight increased in March that year when torrential rains and floods arrived in the region, threatening a humanitarian disaster. Quoting figures available at the time, a Rolling Stone feature claimed that up to half a million Bengalis had been killed by the cyclone in November 1970 − "a figure impossible to understand" − and the Pakistani army's subsequent brutal campaign of slaughter under Operation Searchlight accounted for at least 250,000 civilians "by the most conservative estimates".
Appalled at the situation affecting his homeland and relatives, Bengali musician Ravi Shankar first brought the issue to the attention of his friend George Harrison in the early months of 1971, over dinner at Friar Park, according to Klaus Voormann's recollection. By April, Shankar and Harrison were in Los Angeles working on the soundtrack to the film Raga, during which Harrison documented his early thoughts on the Bangladesh crisis in his song "Miss O'Dell". After returning to England to produce Apple band Badfinger's new album, Straight Up, and guesting on John Lennon's Imagine − all the while, being kept abreast of the worsening situation via Shankar's newspaper and magazine cuttings − he was back in LA to finish the Raga album in late June. Harrison would later talk of spending "three months" on the phone, trying to organise what became the Concert for Bangladesh (implying that efforts were under way from late April onwards), but it is widely acknowledged that the project began in earnest during the last week of June, five or six weeks before 1 August.
Shankar's original hope was to raise a humble $25,000 through a benefit concert of his own, compered perhaps by actor Peter Sellers. By late June, however, following the publication of an influential article by Pakistani journalist Anthony Mascarenhas in London's Sunday Times, and with the record and film outlets available to Harrison through The Beatles' Apple organisation, the idea had grown to become a star-studded extravaganza, mixing Western rock with Indian classical music, and it was to be held at the most prestigious venue in America: Madison Square Garden, in New York City. Harrison got off the phone with Shankar once the concept had been finalised and started enthusing with wife Pattie Boyd and their friend Chris O'Dell about possible performers. Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann, Billy Preston and the four members of Badfinger were all mentioned during this initial brainstorming.
Having previously worked in administrative roles at Apple headquarters and Friar Park, O'Dell set about contacting local musicians from the Harrisons' rented house in Nichols Canyon, as Harrison took the long-distance calls, hoping more than anything to secure Bob Dylan's participation. Almost all of those first-choice names signed on immediately, while a day spent boating with Memphis musician Don Nix resulted in him agreeing to organise a group of backing singers. As for a date for the concert, early August had been advised by a local Indian astrologer, and as things transpired, the 1st of that month, a Sunday, was the only day that Madison Square Garden was available at such short notice.
By 4 July, Harrison was in a Los Angeles studio recording his purpose-written song "Bangla Desh", with co-producer Phil Spector and musical contributions from Starr, Russell, Voormann, Keltner and a horn section led by Jim Horn. After meeting with Badfinger in London to explain that he'd have to bow out of working on Straight Up, Harrison flew to New York on 13 July to see Lennon, who agreed to consider participating in the show as well. During the middle of July also, once back in Los Angeles, Harrison produced Ravi Shankar's Bangladesh benefit record, an EP titled Joi Bangla, featuring Ali Akbar Khan and Alla Rakha. As with Harrison's "Bangla Desh", all profits from this recording would go to the newly established George Harrison–Ravi Shankar Special Emergency Relief Fund, to be distributed by UNICEF. Around this time, a phone call went out to Mick Jagger, who was forced to turn down Harrison's invitation to perform, due to The Rolling Stones' precarious situation as tax exiles in France.
Also around the middle of July, the concert by "George Harrison and Friends" was announced "via a minuscule ad buried in the back pages of the New York Times", author Nicholas Schaffner would recall. Tickets sold out in no time, leading to the announcement of a second show.
Towards the end of the month, when all parties were due to meet in New York for rehearsals, Harrison had the commitment of a backing band comprising Billy Preston (on keyboards), Badfinger (on acoustic rhythm guitars and tambourine, reprising their All Things Must Pass roles), Klaus Voormann (bass), Jim Keltner (drums) and Jim Horn's so-called "Hollywood Horns", including Chuck Findley, Jackie Kelso and Lou McCreary. Of the big-name stars, Leon Russell had committed also but on the proviso that he be supported by members of his tour band. Eric Clapton insisted he too would be there, even if O'Dell and other insiders, knowing of the guitarist's incapacity due to severe heroin addiction, were surprised that Harrison had even considered him for the occasion.
As for Harrison's former bandmates, John Lennon initially agreed to take part in the concert without his wife and musical partner Yoko Ono, as Harrison had apparently stipulated. Lennon then allegedly had an argument with Ono as a result of this agreement and left New York in a rage two days before the concerts. Lennon soon offered a different version of events, blaming manager Allen Klein for spreading false rumours, yet coming up with a story of his own that seemed to make a more damning case against himself: "I just didn't feel like it. We were in the Virgin Islands and I certainly wasn't going to be rehearsing in New York, then going back to the Virgin Islands, then coming back up to New York and singing." Ringo Starr's commitment had never been in question, and he would even interrupt the filming of his movie Blindman in Almeria, Spain, in order to attend. Paul McCartney declined to take part, however, citing the bad feelings caused by The Beatles' legal problems on their break-up. In a November 1971 interview with Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker, McCartney admitted that his decision had also been based on Klein's involvement: a Beatles reunion, he said, would have been "an historical event", for which "Klein would have taken the credit".
The Harrisons decamped to the Park Lane Hotel in New York City, and the first rehearsal took place on Monday, 26 July, at Nola Studios on West 57th Street. Harrison had written a possible setlist for the concert while sketching design ideas for Shankar's Joi Bangla picture sleeve. As well as the songs he would go on to perform on the day, his list included "All Things Must Pass" ("with Leon", apparently) and "Art of Dying" − both from All Things Must Pass − and "Bangla Desh"'s B-side, "Deep Blue"; Clapton's song "Let It Rain" appeared also, implying that the guitarist was expected to have his own solo spot; while the suggestions for Dylan's set were "If Not for You", "Watching the River Flow" (his recent, Leon Russell-produced single) and "Blowin' in the Wind".
Only Harrison, Voormann, the six-piece horn section, and Badfinger's Pete Ham, Joey Molland, Tom Evans and Mike Gibbins were there on that first day, and subsequent rehearsals were similarly carried out in "dribs and drabs", as Harrison put it. Only the final run-through, on the night before the concert, resembled a complete band rehearsal. One such informal rehearsal took place in Harrison's hotel room, where he and guitarist Peter Frampton ran through the entire set together − a measure, Frampton later realised, taken by Harrison to cover the increasing likelihood of a Clapton no-show.
On 27 July, Harrison and Shankar (accompanied by a pipe-smoking Allen Klein) held a press conference to promote the two upcoming shows − "Just thinking about it makes me shake," said the notoriously performance-shy Harrison. The "Bangla Desh" charity single was issued in America the next day, with a UK release following two days later.
Ringo Starr arrived on the Thursday, and by Friday, 30 July, Leon Russell was in town, interrupting his US tour. Russell's band members Claudia Linnear and Don Preston were added to Nix's choir of backing singers; Preston would switch to lead guitar for Russell's solo spot during the shows, just as bassist Carl Radle would replace Voormann temporarily. By this point, Eric Clapton's participation was gravely in doubt, and Jesse Ed Davis had been drafted in as a probable replacement. The ex-Taj Mahal guitarist received last-minute coaching from Voormann, who was more than familiar with Harrison's songs, as well as those by Billy Preston and Starr.
The final rehearsal (or the first for some of the participants) was combined with the concert soundcheck, at Madison Square Garden, late on 31 July. Both Dylan and Clapton finally appeared at the soundcheck that night. Even then, Clapton was in the early stages of heroin withdrawal − only a cameraman supplying him with some methadone would result in the English guitarist taking the stage the following day, after his young girlfriend had been unsuccessful in purchasing uncut heroin for him on the street. As for Dylan, he seemed to be having severe doubts about performing in such a big-event atmosphere. "Look, it's not my scene either, man," Harrison countered. "[This] is the first time I have ever done anything on my own. You, at least, have been a solo artist for years."
Through Harrison's friendship with The Band, Jonathan Taplin had been recruited as production manager, while Chip Monck was in charge of lighting. Gary Kellgren from the nearby Record Plant was brought in to record the concerts, overseen by Phil Spector. "Allen Klein's people" would handle the filming of the event.
Except for brief support roles in December 1969 for both the Delaney & Bonnie and Friends band and Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, it was George Harrison's first live appearance before a paying audience since the The Beatles had quit touring in August 1966. In an interview for the 2011 documentary Living in the Material World, Klaus Voormann would talk about the magnitude of Harrison's ordeal that day, facing the first full house of 20,000 concert-goers: "He actually went up there and talked to an audience − I think that must've been about the first time he's ever done this ... he knew it's going to be filmed, it's going to be used. To talk to an audience, it's very, very difficult ... "
In his role as "master of ceremonies", Harrison walked onto the Madison Square Garden stage for the afternoon show dressed in casual denims. After asking the audience to "try to get into the Indian section", he introduced Ravi Shankar and the latter's fellow musicians − sarodist Ali Akbar Khan, tabla player Alla Rakha, and Kamala Chakravarty on tamboura. As Harrison's musical biographer, Simon Leng, would later note, to have Shankar, Khan and Rakha on the same stage amounted to a supergroup in their own right.
Shankar proceeded to explain the reason for the concerts, after which he and the other musicians performed a traditional dhun, titled "Bangla Dhun". Their set may well have included a second piece and lasted up to three-quarters of an hour rather than the seventeen minutes of music later released commercially, authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter suggest, based on Harrison's later recollection, yet no recording exists to confirm this. The recital was afforded a "fidgety respect" from fans eager to discover the identity of Harrison's advertised "Friends", although the audience's goodwill was more than evident.
To thunderous applause from the New York crowd, Harrison − now "resplendent" in burnt-orange shirt and white suit, with small red Om symbols on the jacket's lapels − appeared on stage along with his temporary band, comprising Ringo Starr, a very sick Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Voormann, Jim Keltner and eighteen others. Backed by this "full Phil Spector/All Things Must Pass rock orchestra", the Western portion of the concert began with "Wah-Wah", followed by The Beatles' "Something" and the gospel-rocker "Awaiting on You All".
Harrison handed the spotlight over to Billy Preston, who performed his only sizeable hit (thus far), "That's the Way God Planned It", and then to Ringo Starr, whose "It Don't Come Easy", like the Preston song, was originally produced by Harrison in London. Nicholas Schaffner was in the audience for this first show and would later describe Starr's turn as having received the "biggest ovation" of the afternoon.
Next up was Harrison's "Beware of Darkness", with guest vocals on the third verse supplied by Russell (who had recently covered the song for his Leon Russell and the Shelter People album). Pausing to introduce his band, Harrison followed this with one of the best-received moments in both the shows − a bristling version of the White Album track "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", featuring him and Clapton duelling on lead guitar during the long instrumental playout. Both the band introduction and this performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" were among the few selections from the afternoon show that would be included on the Concert for Bangladesh album and in the film.
Leon Russell's medley of The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and The Coasters' "Young Blood" was another recording from the matinee performance issued on the original releases. With Carl Radle taking over on bass and Don Preston crossing the stage to play lead guitar (now the fourth electric guitarist in the line-up), this medley was a highlight of Russell's own live shows at the time. Preston, Harrison and Claudia Linnear all supplied supporting vocals behind Russell.
In a well-judged change of pace, Harrison then picked up his acoustic guitar, now alone on the stage save for Pete Ham on a second capo-ed acoustic, and Don Nix's gospel choir, off to stage-left. The ensuing "Here Comes the Sun" − the first live performance of the song, as for Harrison's other Beatle classics played that day − was also very well received.
At this point, Harrison would tell Anthony DeCurtis in 1987, he looked down at the body of his guitar (having just switched back to his white Fender Stratocaster), on which he'd taped the running order of the show, and saw the word "Bob" followed by a question mark. "And I looked around," Harrison continued, "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." Among the MSG audience, Schaffner wrote, there was "total astonishment" at this new arrival.
As Harrison had envisaged the resulting five-song set from Bob Dylan was the crowning glory of the Concert for Bangladesh for many observers. Backed by just Harrison, Russell (now playing Klaus Voormann's Fender Precision bass) and Ringo Starr on tambourine, Dylan played five of his decade-defining songs from the 1960s: "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". It was Dylan's first stage appearance since the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1969 and a performance that critics would laud for years to come.
Harrison and band then returned to perform a final segment, consisting of "Hear Me Lord" and his recent international number 1, "My Sweet Lord" (with Clapton and Jesse Ed Davis handling the signature slide-guitar motif), followed by the song of the moment − "Bangla Desh".
Harrison was reportedly delighted with the outcome of the first show, as was Dylan, who accompanied him back to the Park Lane Hotel afterwards. They discussed possible changes to the setlist for the evening performance, beginning at 8 pm.
The songs played and their sequence differed slightly between the first and second shows, most noticeably with Harrison's opening and closing mini-sets. After "Wah-Wah", he brought "My Sweet Lord" forward, followed by "Awaiting on You All", before handing over to Billy Preston as before. The afternoon's "creaky" "Hear Me Lord" was dropped, so the post-Dylan band segment consisted of only two numbers: "Something", to close the show, and a particularly passionate reading of "Bangla Desh", as an encore. Dylan likewise made some changes, swapping "Blowin' in the Wind" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh" in the order, and then playing a very well received "Mr. Tambourine Man" in place of "Love Minus Zero".
The second show was widely acknowledged as superior to the afternoon performance, although Village Voice reviewer Don Heckman noted that many in the audience reacted to the Shankar−Khan opening set with a lack of respect. Not aiding the Indian musicians was the failure of a microphone on Rakha's hand drums, so denying the crowd a vital element of the musical interplay between sitar and sarod.
During the Western portion of the show, Harrison's voice was more confident this time around, the music "more lustrous", and towards the end of his own solo spot, Billy Preston even felt compelled to get up from behind his Hammond organ and take a show-stealing boogie across the front of the stage.
Dylan's walk-on was again the show's "real cortex-snapping moment", Heckman opined. Dylan finished his final song, "Just Like a Woman", with a victorious salute − "holding up both fists like a strongman", Rolling Stone remarked shortly afterwards. This time Harrison introduced his band after the Dylan set, before taking the show "to yet another peak" with "Something". Watching from the wings, Pattie Harrison described her husband's performance throughout that evening as "magnificent".
Following the two sellout concerts, all the participants attended a celebratory party in a basement club known as Ungano's. Dylan was so elated, Harrison recalled sixteen years later, "he picked me up and hugged me and he said, 'God! If only we'd done three shows!'" Like Harrison though, the experience of playing at Madison Square that day would not lead to him immediately re-embracing the concert stage; only a brief walk-on with The Band during New Year's Eve 1971–72 and sitting in during a John Prine club gig eventuated before Dylan finally returned to touring in January '74. (He would make a brief return to writing protest songs, however, for the first time since 1963–64, with the non-album single "George Jackson", recorded in November '71, again with Russell.)
The post-concert party featured live performances from Harrison and Preston, after which a "roaring drunk" Phil Spector played a "unique" version of "Da Doo Ron Ron". The party broke up in the early hours once Keith Moon of The Who (in town for the band's US tour in support of Who's Next) began smashing up the drum kit he was playing − which actually belonged to Badfinger's Mike Gibbins.
Harrison's manager Allen Klein immediately boasted of the entirely peaceful nature of the event: "There was no rioting. Not one policeman was allowed in there ... Zero!" In fact, as reported in The Village Voice on 12 August, midway through the evening show, a crowd of 200 non-ticket-holders charged and broke through the doors of Madison Square Garden. A force of 100 security guards and New York City police then clubbed the crowd, during which counterculture figure Wavy Gravy, who was seriously ill, was allegedly hit from behind after showing the officers that he did indeed have a valid ticket. Aside from this episode, press reports concerning the Concert for Bangladesh shows were overwhelmingly positive.
The appearance of Bob Dylan on the same stage as two former Beatles caused a sensation, and lavish praise was bestowed on George Harrison. "Beatlemania Sweeps a City!" was a typical headline, and in Britain the NME declared the concerts "The Greatest Rock Spectacle of the Decade!" Dylan's choice of songs, particularly the "apocalyptic" "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", were found to have a new relevance in the context of the early 1970s − the words made "the more chilling for the passage of years", opined Rolling Stone. The same publication stated of Starr's contribution: "Seeing Ringo Starr drumming and singing on stage has a joy in it that is one of the happiest feelings on earth still." Ravi Shankar's role as concert instigator and the true conscience of the UNICEF shows was also noted. Musically, as The Village Voice observed, the pairing of Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan was "almost as unique as the mix of Dylan and Harrison".
In the wider countercultural context of the time, with disillusion increasingly rife with each post-Woodstock rock event, commentators viewed the concerts as "a brief incandescent revival of all that was best about the Sixties". Writing in 1981, NME critic Bob Woffinden likened it to a "rediscovery of faith", adding: "Harrison had put rock music back on course." Politically, as Bangladeshi historian Farida Majid would note, the "warmth, care and goodwill" of the August 1971 concerts "echoed all over the world", inspiring volunteers to approach UNICEF and offer their assistance, as well as eliciting private donations to the Bangladesh disaster fund. Although the altruistic spirit would soon wane once more, the Concert for Bangladesh is invariably seen as the inspiration and model for subsequent rock charity benefits, from 1985's Live Aid and Farm Aid to the Concert for New York City and Live 8 in the twenty-first century. Unlike those later concerts, which benefitted from continuous media coverage of the causes they supported, the Harrison−Shankar project was responsible for identifying the problem and establishing Bangladesh's plight in the minds of mainstream Western society. According to author Gary Tillery: "Because of its positioning as a humanitarian effort, all descriptions of the show included a summary of the catastrophe in South Asia. Overnight, because of their fascination with rock stars, masses of people became educated about geopolitical events they had not even been aware of the week before. The tragedy in Bangladesh moved to the fore as an international issue." One of these revelations was that America was supplying weaponry and financial aid to the Pakistani army, led by General Yahya Khan.
In his musical biography of George Harrison, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Simon Leng identifies friendship as the key factor behind the success of the two UNICEF shows, both in bringing all the participants together on the stage and in the affection with which the audience and music critics viewed the event. Harrison's close friend Klaus Voormann has often cited this quality also.
Friendship played out through the next, significantly more lucrative stages of the Bangladesh relief project, as the accompanying live album and concert film were prepared for release. Harrison had assured all the main performers that their appearance would be removed from these releases if the event turned out "lousy", to save anyone having to risk possible embarrassment. Having sent out personalised letters of thanks to all the participants on 1 September, he expressed his gratitude further by guesting on Billy Preston's first album on A&M Records that autumn and donating a new song to Jesse Ed Davis.
Around the same time, there were rumours of a possible repeat of the New York concert triumph, to be held at London's Wembley Stadium in early October. Harrison and Klein quashed the idea, but an English version of the Concert for Bangladesh did take place, on 18 September, before 30,000 fans at The Oval in south London, with a bill featuring the likes of The Who, The Faces, Mott the Hoople, America and Lindisfarne. On 22 September, George and Pattie Harrison arrived home to the UK, with mixing having been completed on the upcoming live album, and Harrison due to meet with Patrick Jenkin of the British Treasury, to deal with the unforeseen obstacle of a "purchase tax" being levied on the album. This was one of a number of problems that hindered Harrison's Bangladesh project following the Madison Square Garden shows, and the British politician would allegedly tell him: "Sorry! It is all very well for your high ideals, but Britain equally needs the money!"
On 5 June 1972, in recognition of their "pioneering" fundraising efforts for the refugees of Bangladesh, George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and Allen Klein were jointly honoured by UNICEF with its "Child Is the Father of the Man" award. Over three decades later, moves were under way in the Bangladeshi High Court to have Harrison officially recognised and honoured as a hero for his role during the troubled birth of the nation.
The two Madison Square Garden shows raised US$243,418.50, which was given to UNICEF to administer on 12 August 1971. By December, Capitol Records presented a cheque to Apple Corps for around $3,750,000 for advance sales of the Concert for Bangladesh live album.
Aside from complaints regarding the high retail price for the three-record set, particularly in Britain − a result of the government's refusal to waive its tax surcharge − controversy soon surrounded the project's fundraising. Because the event had not been registered as a UNICEF benefit beforehand, and was therefore not granted tax-exempt status − the blame for which Harrison lay squarely at Klein's feet − most of the money generated was held in an Internal Revenue Service escrow account for ten years. In interview with Derek Taylor for his autobiography in the late '70s, Harrison put this figure at somewhere between $8 million and $10 million. Before then, in early 1972, New York magazine reported that some of the proceeds remained unaccounted for and had found their way into Klein's accounts. Klein responded by suing the magazine for $150 million in damages, and although the suit was later withdrawn, the accusations attracted unwelcome scrutiny at a time when questions were also being asked about Klein's mismanagement of The Beatles' finances. That year, an estimated $2 million had gone to the refugees via UNICEF before the IRS audit of Apple got under way; finally, in 1981, $8.8 million was added to that total following the audit.
By mid 1985, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, nearly $12 million had been sent to Bangladesh for relief. Around this time, Harrison would give Bob Geldof "meticulous advice" to help ensure that Live Aid's estimated £50 million found its way, as intended, to victims of the Ethiopian famine.
Sales of the DVD and CD of the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
The Concert for Bangladesh was satirised in two episodes of The Simpsons: "Like Father, Like Clown" and "I'm with Cupid". In the former, Krusty plays the album while a visitor at the Simpsons household. In "I'm with Cupid", Apu's record collection contains The Concert Against Bangladesh, which features a picture of a mushroom cloud on the cover, reflecting Indian−Pakistani nuclear rivalry in the region. (In fact, India supported Bangladesh during its struggle for independence.)
The July 1974 ("Dessert") issue of National Lampoon magazine satirised Tom Wilkes' original cover design for The Concert for Bangladesh, by using a chocolate version of the starving child, the head of which has had a bite taken out of it. Two years before this, the National Lampoon team spoofed Harrison's humanitarian role on record, in their track "The Concert in Bangla Desh" on the Radio Dinner album. In the sketch, two Bangladeshi stand-up comedians (played by Tony Hendra and Christopher Guest) perform to starving refugees in an attempt to collect a bowlful of rice so that George Harrison can mount a hunger strike.
Crowd noises from the Concert for Bangladesh were put into Aerosmith's cover of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" by producer Jack Douglas. Some of stills photographer Barry Feinstein's shots from the 1971 concerts were used on the covers of subsequent albums by the participating artists, notably the compilations Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II and The History of Eric Clapton.
George Harrison himself sent up the benefit-show concept on film, in the Dick Clement-directed HandMade comedy Water, in 1985. At the so-called Concert for Cascara, he along with Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jon Lord and others make a surprise appearance on stage, supposedly before the United Nations General Assembly, performing the song "Freedom".