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On Dec. 29, 1979, Paul McCartney and Wings capped a UK tour with four nights of benefit concerts, staged with UNICEF, for refugees of the brutal war between Cambodia and Vietnam. The shows, known as the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea (Kampuchea being the name of the Pol Pot-led state that existed in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979), assembled a ridiculous collection of ‘70s-era British rock gods—including The Clash, The Who, Queen, Elvis Costello, and members of Led Zeppelin—at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
The Paste Vault contains two performances from the concerts, both of which are joys to behold, in spite of the very dire issue the concerts were aiming to address. First is a performance of the 1961 Elvis Presley hit “Little Sister” by the rockabilly group Rockpile, with Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant taking lead vocal.
The second clip is the real gem. While organizing the concerts with U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, McCartney recruited a supergroup, called Rockestra, to join him on the Odeon stage with more than 30 musicians in all. Included in the cavalry: The Who’s Pete Townshend on guitar, Plant ON BASS (though it’s hard to tell if he’s actually playing it), and Zeppelin’s John Bonham on drums (you can catch him up on the riser at the 2:51 mark). The gang played three songs that night: “Let It Be,” Little Richard’s “Lucille,” and the “Rockestra Theme.” Here is “Lucille”:
The concerts, which also included full sets by The Specials and The Pretenders, were subsequently released as a double live album in the UK with Wings topping the bill. An abridged version was later released as a concert film, Concert for Kampuchea.