The Concert for Bangladesh
On June 11, 1971, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar stood in front of an audience of reporters to announce “The Concert For Bangladesh.” George and Ravi, along with their illustrious contemporaries played two shows at Madison Square Garden to raise awareness for the starving refugees who were suffering the effects of the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the ‘Liberation War’ in India.
The concerts were attended by 40,000 people, raising nearly $250,000 at the gate which was administered by UNICEF(The United Nations Children’s Fund)- a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.
From the concerts, a film and a live album were recorded. Since the release of both the film and the live album, a profit over $12 million has been raised and sent to aid Bangladesh and to this day profits still continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund managed by UNICEF.
George Harrison paved the way in the music industry for artists to express their humanitarian values. in 1984, Michael Jackson, along with a number of leading musicians made the song We Are The World to raise money for Africa. On July 13, 1985, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure hosted Live Aid- a concert to raise funds for the famine in Ethiopia. Big names like Queen, David Bowie, U2, Run-DMC, and many others brought in $127 Million.
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid, On July 2, 2005, was Live 8- a string of benefit concerts in South Africa and the G8 states of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada, and Russia. More than 1,000 musicians performed at the concerts, which were broadcast on 182 television networks and 2,000 radio networks. Of those musicians, there were big names like Snoop Dogg, Kanye, Elton John, The Killers, Madonna, and many others.
George Harrison was a trailblazer and used his affluence as a tool for restoring hope and grace in communities. With the help of his efforts, he laid the foundation and helped guide other celebrities to seek change for the voiceless.