They never got a ton of attention in America, but throughout the 1980s the Prince’s Trust concerts consistently brought together many of the biggest names in rock for an incredible evening of music. The organization was founded by Prince Charles in 1976 to raise money for struggling young people across England, and in 1982 the first benefit concert was held, featuring Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Pete Townshend, Robert Plant, Madness and many others.
There were a number of Prince’s Trust shows over the years, but perhaps the most memorable one was at Wembley Arena on June 5th, 1987. The bill featured Eric Clapton, Elton John, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Ben E. King and Dave Edmunds. George Harrison took the stage near the end of the night to perform “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with many of the night’s acts.
It was a very rare performance by Harrison, who had largely been out of sight since the release of his commercially disappointing 1982 LP Gone Troppo. His one and only solo tour, back in 1974, was largely a disaster and he made it very clear he didn’t enjoy playing live. Still, it’s hard to say no to Prince Charles and his brief set was rapturously received.
Later that year, Harrison scored a huge comeback hit with “I Got My Mind Set on You” from his Jeff Lynne-produced LP Cloud Nine. He maintained his high profile the next year by joining the Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. There was tremendous pressure on Harrison to play live, both as a solo act and as part of some sort of live Wilburys show. He stood his ground and refused to hit the road in any format, though in 1991 he finally caved and went on a brief tour of Japan with Eric Clapton. They could have easily brought that show all around the world, but Harrison had no interest and he never played in public again after his set at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992.