This week’s #askNat question comes from Facebook friend Brian Kelly of Oneonta, New York. So let’s jump right in and see what Brian has to say:
I’ve been chatting with Dennis Mitchell (of Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles) for the last year or so and we’ve been discussing something and I’d like your input on it if you have any info. Do you know why “Youngblood” by Leon Russell was changed on the remastered CD of The Concert For Bangla Desh? I know that isn’t the version that’s on the LP.
A very good observation Brian and without a doubt, a very good performance from the show that was – whichever the version. But let me back up just for a minute with a little background information.
The Concert For Bangla Desh (or Bangladesh) was held on August 1, 1971 at New York’s Madison Square Garden to raise money for the refugees of East Pakistan/Bangla Desh who were victims of the 1970 Bhola cyclone that devastated the area or the civil war with the Pakistan Army that brought on massacres, murders, rapes, arson and genocide – specifically the systematic elimination of Hindus in the area.
George Harrison and Ravi Shankar started organizing the event early in 1971 and George began by writing the song “Bangla Desh” and releasing it as his next Apple single on July 28th of that year. The idea was to increase the awareness of the situation, getting people behind it before the concert took place a few days later.
The Concert For Bangla Desh was the first rock and roll charity concert event in our history and a big success for it’s time, raising an immediate $250,000 for relief administered by UNICEF. The continued proceeds from the associated triple album added to this figure over the years. George rounded up a legendary lineup of musicians to accompany him on stage for the event to include Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Badfinger, Klaus Voormann, Leon Russell and others. Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan also performed an Indian music set that opened up the concert.
An afternoon show began at 2:30pm that day followed by the evening show which kicked off at 8pm. George’s performances included some tracks from his #1 triple album from the previous year, All Things Must Pass, three Beatles-classics “Here Comes The Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Something,” and the show closed with “Bangla Desh.” Ringo Starr performed “It Don’t Come Easy.” Ringo, George and the other musicians were, for the most part playing along through each featured artist’s segment. The performance Brian is asking about is a 10-min medley of two covers sung and played on piano by Leon Russell. Specifically the songs Leon connects are The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” and The Coasters’ “Young Blood.”
Along with The Concert For Bangla Desh triple album set released on Dec. 20, 1971 there was a documentary film of the concert released by Apple which hit the cinemas in the spring of 1972 and later was released to home video.
As is often the case with releases of live material, there is a certain amount of post production that takes place to ready the footage for retail. In the case of the Bangla Desh concert, footage was combined from both the afternoon and evening shows to give the best concert experience. On the original 3-LP set and the 1991 2-CD set, we are hearing mostly the evening show except for some of the spoken introduction, the last minute or so of George’s All Things Must Pass track, “Wah-Wah” and Leon’s medley which come from the afternoon show. On the film/DVD, the audio (but not the video) is the same except for Leon’s medley which is still from the afternoon show at the beginning but the audio switches to the evening show during “Young Blood” instead of remaining the afternoon show all the way through like it does on the album. The 2005 remastered CD is using this same hybrid version that is on the DVD and therefore does not match the original album or initial CD release.
Additionally some of the dialogue and applause heard between tracks on the original LP set have been removed on the 2005 remaster.
I hope that clears it up for you Brian and thanks for a good topic. If anyone reading has anything to add, feel free to do just that in the comments section below.
1) Leon Russell plays piano on his medley and shares some of the lead vocal spotlight on “Young Blood” with Don Preston who is also playing lead guitar on the medley. Guitars are also played on the song by George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Jesse Ed Davis. Bass is played by Carl Radle. Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner play drums.
2) The “Bangla Desh” single peaked at #2 in the U.S. (Billboard) and #10 in the U.K. (Record Retailer). The Concert For Bangla Desh 3-LP set also peaked at #2 in the U.S. (Billboard) and #1 in the U.K. (Record Retailer).
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Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music related to this post:
1) Concert for Bangla Desh 2005 2-CD remaster of original 1971 3-LP set but with alternate version of Leon Russell’s “Jumping Jack Flash/Youngblood” medley that is a hybrid of the afternoon and evening concert performance.
2) Concert for Bangla Desh 2005 DVD remastered 1971 Apple concert documentary with Leon Russell’s “Jumping Jack Flash/Youngblood” medley that is a hybrid of the afternoon and evening concert performance (same as 2-CD set in #1 above).
3) The Concert for Bangla Desh 1991 2-CD remaster of original 1971 3-LP set with the same version of Leon Russell’s “Jumping Jack Flash/Youngblood” medley that is on the original albums (from the afternoon concert performance).
4) The Best of George Harrison – 1990 CD mastering of original 1976 compilation containing Apple 45 version of “Bangla Desh” plus other George Harrison hits. Note that newer hits collection Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison does not have “Bangla Desh” in track listing.