#169 – The Magic Years – Scenes From A Rock And Roll Life

In this episode, we chat with Jonathan Taplin regarding his career working with Bob Dylan, along with The Band (Dylan’s back-up band, along with their solo career), his time with George Harrison putting together the legendary Concert For Bangladesh, what it was like to be a part of Woodstock (yes, he was actually there), and how he and Martin Scorsese came to working together on not only on the now legendary documentary “The Last Waltz” but also on a major feature film. This in addition to the 120 concerts he produced over the years.

Music podcast
Jeff Coffee

Jonathan is the author of the book “Move Fast and Break Things” and a new memoir called “The Magic Years – Scenes From A Rock And Roll Life.”

Taplin helped organize the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison and the film “The Last Waltz,” also directed by Scorcese. The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country’s name, was originally spelt) was a pair of benefit concerts organized by former Beatles guitarist George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar. The shows were held at 2:30 and 8:00 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City to raise international awareness of and fund refugees from East Pakistan following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide. The concerts were followed by a best-selling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films’ concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972. The event was the first-ever benefit of such a magnitude. It featured a supergroup of performers, including Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and the band Badfinger.

Jonathan Taplin is a writer, film producer, and scholar. He is the Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and was a Professor at the USC Annenberg School from 2003-2016 in international communication management and digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets, selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire, and To Die. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.

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