George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh Remembered

Monday, 01 Aug 2011 07:45 AM

By Jon Friedman

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This Aug. 1 is a special day. It is the 40th anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh.

Can you believe it has been this long? It seems like yesterday when Beatle George Harrison, resplendent in a white suit and a thick beard, hosted the first major rock and roll philanthropic event and ushered in an era which subsequently featured such high points as 1979’s Concert for Kampuchea and, of course, 1985’s Live Aid global extravaganza.

Harrison acted as a response to a request posed by his dear friend Ravi Shankar. Harrison quickly assembled an all-star cast of musicians and friends, including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Leon Russell.

It was far from a solemn occasion. From a musical perspective, it was also a special day, showcasing a newly ex-Beatle’s first major solo appearance in the United States — plus, the gravity of the event lured Bob Dylan out of near-seclusion for a rare concert performance.

Bangladesh continues to have resonance every time celebrities gather to anchor a relief effort for the victims of Katrina or Haiti or another place where people need assistance.

HBO is going to be airing film director Martin Scorsese’s two-part special about Harrison’s life this fall. It’s an apt time to remember the man who was once mistakenly called “the quiet Beatle,” only to have the label stick throughout time.

Harrison has long been overshadowed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It’s about time he got his due by society.

The next time you donate time or money to a charitable cause, take a moment and remember George Harrison and the others who made Aug. 1 a day to remember for us all.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for Click here to read his latest column.

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