We are dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at a moment which sees Leon Russell, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starring jamming in some rare rehearsal footage from 1971.
After The Beatles officially split in 1970, there was a lot of murmurs around the music industry on what would happen to the four individuals who made up the biggest band on the planet. While the expectation was already prevalent for John Lennon and Paul McCartney to make big moves in their solo careers, it worked out that it was actually Ringo Starr and George Harrison who made the bigger waves.
The guitarist, in particular, followed up his stint within the band with arguably the record of his life, the brilliant double LP, All Things Must Pass. Aside from vast-selling albums, Harrison also organised one of the biggest events of the decade, the Concert for Bangladesh.
It was a huge moment for Harrison personally, and globally, the gig was in aid of Bangladesh a country whose residents had become victims of famine and war. The concert would feature an all-star line up of Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Badfinger, and, of course, Ravi Shankar.
With such a heavy-hitting band and list of guests made up entirely of global rock stars, one might expect the group to just roll up to perform without much thought or care—but you’d be dead wrong. Harrison ensured that the core of the group met for a classic rehearsal session and it’s a captivating watch.
The footage below sees Harrison alongside his Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr, his longtime friend and confidant Eric Clapton and the imperious talent of Leon Russell get together to perform a classic version of Robert Johnson’s song ‘Come On In My Kitchen’. The band performed the song alongside Billy Preston and Jim Keltner in the main performance but there’s a raw intensity to this run through.
The song was not filmed for the concert film and that makes this version of the group’s performance all the more potent. Whether its the atmosphere Starr, Harrison, Clapton and Russell shared or the song’s own beauty, there is something intangibly brilliant about this number.
The Concert for Bangladesh would go on to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars which was given to UNICEF to administer as they saw fit.
Though by 1985 the Los Angeles Times reported that the final figure from books, CDs etc. amounted to nearly $12 million dollars being sent to help with the Bangladeshi people. Sadly, much of the money was tied up in an Internal Revenue Service escrow account for over a decade as the organisers had not applied for tax-free status on the money. The concert and its recording is still to this day amassing money for the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.
Watch George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr jam in rare footage from the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.