Why does everything always comes back to The Beatles?

So, I was browsing around blogs after lunch as usual and what do I see in Making Light‘s sidelights? “Joe Cocker, translated” I just had to click. Turns out it was linking to this insanely hilarious video:

It is always fun to watch Joe Cocker going all hippy convulsing, but the captions are beyond brilliant. So I’m feeling like watching another Joe Cocker video, and I remember his really awesome version of “The Letter.” So I go for that one.

Man, this video is awesome. From the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A humongous band, at least two drummers, god knows how many backup vocals. Insane. It’s pure hippy-on-the-verge-of-outright-drug-abuse-decadence bliss. Hmm, that funky dude with the awesome hat on piano who looks absolutely stoned looks familiar. Let’s watch another Joe Cocker hippy video, this is fun! Oh, he did a really awesome cover of “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”!!!! Almost forgot “The Wonder Years song” is not his only Beatles’ cover. (Wait, this is not yet the full Beatles connection)

Damn, now the funky stoner dude with a hat is rocking on the guitar. Awesome bluesy twangy style. Kickass. He looks really familiar, damnit. And it’s not just the Kid-Rock-if-he-joined-ZZ Top thing.

Then it hits me. He was in George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh! That’s where I remember him from!

See, before there was Live Aid and all those other benefit concerts, there was the Concert for Bangladesh. An Impromptu concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971 organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar (who brought the issue to Harrison originally) to raise money for aiding the people of Bangladesh, who were in a terrible state after natural disasters and their War for Independence from Pakistan. There was no notion of rockstars joining for a concert to benefit poor people halfway across the globe. Harrison even released a single, “Bangladesh” to raise awareness and money for aid.

Here’s George Harrison’s band playing “Bangladesh” at the Concert. Yes, those are Ringo Starr on drums, Billy Preston on keyboards and Eric Clapton on lead guitar. And of course funky hat stoner dude on piano and the also kickass Klaus Voorman on bass.

By the way, the stoner dude with the awesome hat and crazy musical talent is Oklahoma’s Leon Russell. Next time you hear somebody say how Slash was so original in his choice of headgear, you get to scoff at them and boost your music nerd cred by pointing Leon out.

Oh, George Harrison would later go on to found Handmade Films (originally) to finance Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” Seriously, The Beatles rock.

*Bonus awesome Joe Cocker video: Joe Cocker and John Belushi doing his Joe Cocker impression singing “Feelin’ Alright” in SNL. Truly hilarious.


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