In 1971, a friend asked former Beatle George Harrison, if he could do something to help the dire situation for the people of Bangladesh. So Harrison, along with a few friends organized an event to raise relief funds and to alert the world to the plight of the Bangladeshi people, victims of simultaneous floods, famine and civil war.
The fundraiser was held in the form of 2 concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City, one held at noon and one held at 7 PM on August 1, 1971. The all-star lineup included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar and other top musicians. They played to a total crowd of about 40,000 and in the process raised about a quarter of a million dollars in the process.
The Concert for Bangladesh was also released as a live 3-album box set, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1973. It was also released as a concert film in 1972, incorporating a number of performances taken from both 2 concerts, with additional proceeds going to benefit the Bangladesh relief fund.
Over the years, millions of dollars has been raised as a result of this historic event, which later inspired others like Bob Geldof’s LIVEAID & LIVE8.
Available on iTunes
40 years later, the Concert for Bangladesh album is making its digital debut exclusively on iTunes to celebrate Harrison’s accomplishments and to also make this incredible performance available through a new medium to new audiences. The iTunes LP ($19.99) has 22 tracks including Harrison’s studio single of Bangla Desh, not found on the original release. It also offers images of the concert as well as liner notes and essays.
There are also some streaming freebies available as on iTunes; a 5-minute video album trailer and a 49-minute radio program about the concert.
Fundraising Event & 72-hour Free Streaming
But there’s more; This event also signals the start of the U.S. Fund For Unicef’s special “Month Of Giving” Campaign for the George Harrison Fund For Unicef, providing emergency relief for children affected by drought and famine in Horn Of Africa.
All after-tax proceeds from sales of The Concert for Bangladesh album on iTunes will directly benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF
And to kick it all off is a live 72-hour streaming event of the original concert film. It starts tomorrow, Saturday, July 30, through Monday Aug 1st on iTunes, georgeharrison.com, and theconcertforbangladesh.com.
ABOUT THE GEORGE HARRISON FUND FOR UNICEF
The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is a joint undertaking between the Harrison family and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support UNICEF programs that provide lifesaving assistance to children, including health, education, nutrition and emergency relief. In the tradition established by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support UNICEF programs in Bangladesh while expanding its influence to include other countries where children are in need.
I’m sure George would have been proud. George Harrison passed away almost 10 years ago from lung cancer in November 2001.
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.
Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.