Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Concert for Bangladesh
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the legendary Concert for Bangladesh. With The Beatles over George Harrison set off on reinventing himself and helping others. As East Pakistan struggled to become the separate state of Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War, tremendous political and military turmoil began. The 1971 Bangladesh atrocities led to a massive refugee problem in India. The 1970 Bhola cyclone, brought torrential rains causing devastating floods and it threatened to become a humanitarian disaster. Musician Ravi Shankar consulted George and he recorded the single "Bangla Desh" to raise awareness. Harrison also pushed Apple Records to release Shankar's single "Joy Bangla" to also help raise funds. Ravi had an idea of small fund-raising concert in the U.S. and told George about it. George thoguht it was a great idea and started making plans and calling up his famous friends to see if they could be apart of it. The concert, which ended up being more large than small was organized within five weeks at Madison Square Garden. Concert for Bangladesh turned into two concerts, one held at noon and the other at 7:00 p.m. on August 1, 1971. The musicians that played the concert included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan. John Lennon was going to participate but George didn't want Yoko to preform with him. John agreed but Yoko was angered and an argument ensued. Two days before the concert John and Yoko left New York because of the argument. Paul McCartney declined the invitation later saying, "George came up and asked if I wanted to play Bangla Desh and I thought, blimey, what's the point? We're just broken up and we're joining up again? It just seemed a bit crazy." Ringo was the only other Beatle besides George that attend and preformed. The concert was a huge successful and the musicians played to 40,000 people in all. Both of the concerts were filmed and recorded for an album. The concert raised US$243,418.50, which was all given to UNICEF. The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF still continues to benefit from sales of the DVDs and CDs of the concert. For the concert's 40th anniversary it has been released digitally today for the first time as an iTunes exclusive. All proceeds after taxes will be donated to the George Harrison Fund for Unicef, a special charity established to help provide relief to children in famine and the drought-stricken regions in the Horns of Africa. If you would like to donate text FRIEND to UNICEF (864233) to give $10 if you live in the U.S. You can also donate via the web. George made a huge impact and helped so many people. He used his music and power to make a difference. I think everyone could learn from him.