Concert For Bangladesh

The year 1971 saw one of the most horrific atrocities in all human history, as up to 3 million people were killed and 400,000 women were raped by members of the Pakistani military and supporting Islamist militias as a means to quell the separatist movement by the Bengalis of East Pakistan (which became the People's Republic of Bangladesh on April 17, 1971). In response to the atrocities, as many as 10 million Pakistanis, mostly Hindus, fled the country to seek refuge in India. As a way to raise awareness and fund support for these refugees, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar took it upon themselves to assemble two all-star concerts to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on August 1, 1971. The lineup included Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, and Leon Russell.

The event became the first benefit concert of its magnitude and raised over $240,000, all of which was donated to UNICEF. The advance from sales of the live album generated an additional $3.75 million in aid.

Leon performed during the afternoon show, joining Harrison in a performance of "Beware Of Darkness," and would provide what many consider the highlight performance of the event with his medley of The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and The Coasters' "Youngblood." 

The concert as a whole was considered a great success, the live album would peak at #2 on the Billboard Top LP's Chart and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1973, and the film of the concert would live on as one of the great music films of all time and break the one-day box office record for a screening in London.

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© 2020 Leon Russell Estate