Tuesday, January 16, 2007

George Harrison and Bangladesh Concert 1971

I liked the late George Harrison. From the start in the Beatles he was the younger quieter lad and in the shadow of the exceptional combined talents of Lennon/McCartney. George wrote some very good music and was a good performer. He also came across as a kind, friendly, humble, publicity shy individual. In a World where those who shout loudest get the most attention I often feel George Harrison didn't always get enough credit for his personal contribution to music and the World.

Recently I had reason to recall one of George Harrison's great legacies. A satellite TV channel aired a documentary on the 1971 Bangladesh concert in Maddison Square Gardens NY. I recall the concert well as a teenager. It was the first music concert of it's kind to raise significant financial aid for a humanitarian disaster. It was difficult to get artists committed for such an unknown type concept and had a good degree of risk. George Harrison was doing lots of work on the phone on an exceptionally tight timescale to organise musicians and he even wrote the Bangladesh song for the two day concert. Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and many other good artists came along to perform and given that the Beatles had broken up a year earlier it was nice to have Ringo Starr also performing on the same stage as George. The concert raised millions for the region and created a powerful awareness of what musicians could do for the World. We think of the high profile of Bob Geldof and Bono etc. in using Music to help the Third World. But these men acknowledge that this concept all started with the serene George Harrison and his friend Ravi Shankar.

6 comments:

Omaniblog said...

What a great reminder. i didn't know that and I'd forgotten about that concert which I presume I knew about at the time. I got into other types of music about that time and I may have ignored it. I never realised how good a person George Harrison was.

You have a fine ability to write pieces which set me saying to myself (not having anyone to talk to nearly): that is a perfect length for that piece. How does he do it? I feel my pieces are always too long.

John of Dublin said...

Thanks Omani for those kind comments.

I suppose I always have an objective to make things as short as will make the point but it depends on what the purpose of the article is. I know some of your articles may seem long but they're good stream of consciousnous stuff and it is no doubt helpful to you to write your thoughts down. Think of the chapter in Ulysses of Stephen on Sandymount strand or Molly's famous long burst in the last chapter. Both long but powerful.

Claire said...

I grew up in a Beatles-obsessed house...we're all still mad about them. John was always my favourite but I've come to appreciate George over the years and I was so sad when he passed away. I think he was someone with incredible talent who under any other circumstances would have been huge all by himself, he just happened to be in a group which included the giants of Lennon and McCartney.

Have you seen the tribute concert organised after his death by Eric Clapton and a few others? It really shows what a gifted songwriter he was.

John of Dublin said...

Hi Claire. Yep, I'm a major Beatles music fan too. I didn't know about the tribute concert to George, interesting.

Omaniblog said...

To be mentioned in the same breath as Molly! You've really got under my defences with that. I must re-read.
I'll never forget the first time I read the end of that in public. I as mad enough to not read it in advance and then go for it. When I got to "Yes yes yes" I was done.
It's indeed good to write thoughts down and go on and on and see what eventually spills out.

John of Dublin said...

Ha ha! I love the last chapter in Ulysses, it should be said out loud with maybe one or two glasses of wine (but no more!).

I like the contrast of style of each chapter - like different writers.