1971 seems a long time ago. The pre-digital age when we all bought vinyl LP’s in a cardboard sleeve. Our musical heros would speak to us through the etchings made in a plastic disc, rediscovered by a needle following the contoured groove round and around. And the music was really really groovy. But, mixed with our love of the music was a collective shared vision in the promise of a new world order, one based on the humanitarian principles that enlightened the sixties sub-cultures. One founded on love, and peace. Of course, accompanying the mind expansion, came the excesses of liberation. Freed from the cultural stranglehold that was the post war western world and fuelled by the drugs that had now become generally available, some of our musical heroes burnt themselves out – Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix to name just the better known. But yet, there was always the hope that someone might rise above the ashes of self-glorification – and do something practical to help. Use their fame to highlight someone’s plight, draw attention to universal suffering and shame the cynics. Well someone did. Answering the call of Ravi Shanker, George Harrison pulled on many a string to arrange a benefit concert, to be filmed and recorded, the proceeds of which would go to alleviate the hardship being endured by the people of Bangla Desh. And what a concert. Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr, southern rocker Leon Russell, gospel soulster Billy Preston, guitar god Eric Clapton and topping it all, – the cream on the dream – in strides Bob Dylan doing his first live gig since his motorcycle accident of 1966, nervous as heck, but lured by the thought of supporting his close buddy George.
The accompanying film portrays the heightened emotion of this pre-LiveAid, pre-Geldorf event. The quiet Beatle, George Harrison had pulled it off – and helped to salve the conscience of a generation. Yes – we could all feel the power of giving.