A Benefit Concert Tribute

George HarrisonIt’s easy to make fun of pop celebrities and their PR-fueled urge to do good by donating one-millionth of one percent of their concert proceeds to the cause du jour. However, there have been some genuine attempts by rock musicians to help those in need through their music. Let’s recap some of the highlights of these benefit concerts — even if you think, as John Lennon did, that “I don’t want to have anything to do with benefits… they’re always rip-offs”, surely we can all agree that there have been some remarkable musical moments at these events. After all, couldn’t we all use a little more harmony?

Monterey Pop Festival (1967):
Jimi Hendrix — Wild Thing
Janis Joplin — Ball and Chain

The Concert for Bangladesh (1971):
Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Alla Rakha, and Kamala Chakravarty — Bangla Dhun
Bob Dylan — Blowin’ in the Wind

The Secret Policeman’s Ball (1979):
Pete Townshend — Drowned
Tom Robinson — Glad To Be Gay

The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball (1981):
Sting — Message in a Bottle
Bob Geldof — I Don’t Like Mondays

Live Aid (1985):
Queen — Bohemian Rhapsody (Intro)/Radio Ga Ga
Mick Jagger and Tina Turner — State of Shock/It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)

Live 8 (2005):
Paul McCartney — Helter Skelter
Pink Floyd — Wish You Were Here

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