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Harrison’s ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ coming to DVD

August 2, 2005

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – George Harrison’s 1971 charity
shindig “The Concert for Bangladesh,” a rock extravaganza that
paved the way for all-star benefits and set a new low for
fiscal mismanagement, is coming to DVD for the first time on
Oct. 25.

The soundtrack CD also will be reissued on the same day
with an extra track from Bob Dylan, who emerged from seclusion
to play the historic Madison Square Garden concerts.

The rights are owned by the Beatles’ Apple Corps. label, an
odd twist given that Apple partners John Lennon and Paul
McCartney refused to play at the shows.

The packages will bear the new subtitle “George Harrison &
Friends” for the sake of consumers who don’t know anything
about the concerts, an Apple spokeswoman said.

The original triple-disc record, also featuring such
performers as a heroin-addled Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy
Preston, Leon Russell and Ravi Shankar, won the Grammy for
album of the year in 1973. A feature film also was released
about that time.

Harrison arranged the two Aug. 1 shows after Shankar, his
musical mentor on the sitar, had alerted him to the plight of
millions of starving and flood-afflicted Bengalis who were then
engaged in a short but bloody fight for independence from
Pakistan.

All concert proceeds were earmarked for UNICEF, but
rock-star idealism was trumped by the harsh reality of complex
litigation stemming from the bitter Beatles breakup months
earlier, tax demands, and even New York magazine claim that
money from album sales was being skimmed.

The United Nations agency had to wait months before
receiving its first meager check. An Apple statement said the
project has since generated millions of dollars for UNICEF and
raised awareness of the organization. Artist royalties from the
DVD and CD will continue to go to UNICEF, as will Apple’s share
of proceeds, the spokeswoman said.

Harrison’s widow, Olivia, is serving as executive producer,
completing work started by her husband before he died of cancer
in 2001.

The CD will be released by EMI/Capitol, which handles all
Beatles products, and the DVD by Warner Music Group, the
distributor of the Harrison tribute “Concert for George,” which
won the long-form video Grammy this year.

The DVD will boast the original 99-minute film and 72
minutes of extras, including a 45-minute documentary and
previously unseen footage: Harrison and Dylan rehearsing “If
Not For You,” Harrison, Clapton and Russell performing “Come On
In My Kitchen” during sound check, and Dylan performing “Love
Minus Zero/No Limit” during the afternoon show. That track also
will be added to the remixed two-CD album.

Reuters/VNU




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