The artwork

The packaging of The Concert For Bangladesh was designed by Tom Wilkes and Barry Feinstein of Camouflage Productions, who had previously collaborated with George Harrison on All Things Must Pass.

The three vinyl discs were housed in a box with a 64-page book containing photographs of from the New York concerts.

The cover photograph of a malnourished child sitting beside an empty food bowl was considered by Capitol to be too dour, and pushed instead for an image of a guitar case filled with food and medical supplies, which was used on the back cover of the booklet.

The Bangla Desh proof of the box front with guitar, was awful – so I had to jump on that and change it and shout at them and now it will be okay with the original idea of the kid. It’s such a pain, all that messing around just because they didn’t like the truth.
George Harrison, October 1971
Wonderful Tonight ebook, Pattie Boyd

Wilkes and Feinstein had both taken photographs at the Madison Square Gardens shows. The final image, however, was a still taken from a news agency report, and airbrushed considerably by Wilkes.

The Concert For Bangla Desh album artwork

The original box set was a deep orange cover. However, for the 1991 compact disc reissue, the cover replicated the original booklet, with the child on a white background. The CD booklet was also reduced from 64 to 36 pages.

The Concert For Bangladesh was remastered and reissued on CD and DVD in 2005. This time both releases had a photograph of Harrison taken at the event, although a special edition DVD retained the original artwork.

The release

The Concert For Bangladesh was released in the United States on 20 December 1971, and on 10 January 1972 in the UK.

The price of the lavish package was $12.98 in the US, and £5.50 in the UK, prices seen by many as exorbitant. Harrison had attempted to persuade the British Treasury to waive their tax entitlement for each sale which, if successful, would have lowered the prices.

Despite the high cost, The Concert For Bangladesh was a bestseller, and topped the charts in the Netherlands, Norway, and USA, as well as going top 10 in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In the US it spent six weeks at number two on the Billboard Top LPs chart, prevented from reaching the top by Don McLean’s American Pie. The live set did, however, top the Record World chart.

On 4 January 1972 the album was certified gold by the RIA, having sold over 500,000.

The Concert For Bangladesh was made Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in March 1973. Ringo Starr attended the Nashville ceremony in George Harrison’s absence, and collected a tray of awards, one for each featured performer.

The album was first released on compact disc in America on 30 July 1991, and in the UK on 19 August. It was a double-disc edition, with the breaks between songs considerably edited. Harrison gave an interview to promote the reissue.

Prior to his death in 2001, Harrison had been working on a new edition of the album and film. The audio was remastered, with new packaging by Wherefore Art?, and the addition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’ as a bonus track.

The CD reissue came out in October 2005, as did the first official DVD release of the film, which was accompanied by the a making-of documentary, directed by Claire Ferguson and co-produced by Olivia Harrison.

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