Saturday, 2 April 2011

Concert for Bangladesh --The first benifit concert in the music history

Advertisement poster for  movie and album
In 1971, when George Harrison was approached by his Indian Bangali musician friend Ravi Sankar,for help for food and war ravaged Bangladesh, the concept of the superstar concert benifit didn't exit.
Ravi Sankar requested George Harrison that they should try to raise US $ 25,000 for the UNICEF fund to help the Bangladeshi refugees who took shelter in India.After hearing the details about the loss of lives and the liberation war of the common people then George Harrison stated that they must try to do something bigger than that.Thus the first concert for world humanity named today as charity or benifit concert took place on August 1,1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York in USA bannered as The Concert for Bangladesh.So in plain text we can say that The concert for Bangladesh was the first benifit concert in the modern music history.
The concert raised US $243,418,51 for Bangladesh relief,which was administered by UNICEF.An album was released later in 1971 and a concert film in video was released in 1972.In 2005, the film was re-issued on DVD accompanied by a new documentary.Sales of the movie and album ultimately generated more than US$15 million. In addition, the music album of  The Concert for Bangladesh also won the Grammy Award in the year 1971,it reached number 2 on the U.S. music charts and number 1 on the U.K. music charts.Sales of the album and DVD still now continue to benifit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.

To stage this concert George Harrison took contact with his other superstars friends,mainly the world famous previous band group ''The Beatles''.To organize this concert he could gether all the superstars in one stage.They were Ringo Starr,Eric Clapton,Leon Russell,Billy Preston,Ravi Sankar,Ustad Akbar Ali Khan,Ustad Alla Rakha Khan,Kamala Chakravarty,Klaus Voorman,British rock band Badfinger,Jesse Ed Davis,Don Preston,Carl Radle,The Hollywood Horns band group,Bob Dylon,George Harrison himself and some other performers as backing vocalists.The concert was organized within five weeks, all of the tickets were sold out(20,000 tickets were sold in two hours) and 40,000 people enjoyed the concert. 
Interesting news about this concert are that,it was the first live appearance for George Harrison since the breakup of ''The Beatles''.Bob Dylan staged his last live performence in August 1969 and he was still recovering from a near-fatal motor cycle accident.Eric Clapton who was still in the grip of heroin addiction and had been unable to attend any rehearsals untill the final sound check,a day before the concert.Eric Clapton was booked on every airline flight from London to New York city for a week before the concert.George Harrison requested John Lennon to take part in the concert with a condition that Lennon's wife Yoko Ono would not perform with him.John Lennon agreed,took part in rehearsals but left New York two days before the concert following an argument with Ono regarding his and Harrison's agreement that she would not  participate.

Performers of the Concert for Bangladesh
The anchore song of this concert was written and sung by George Harrison titled ''Bangladesh''.This song created a somber atmosphere as it was an appeal to help mission of helpless people in dire distress.A closer look at the text of the lyrics shows that George Harrison only talked of the plight of the common people.He didn't say even a singel word about the liberation war or did not try to justify the cause of Bangalis.This made the appeal more touching and took away any chance of creating any controversy. Harrison's effort to stage the first humanitarian concert was not only a unique effort but also a daring one too,because at that time the USA government and it allies supported Pakistan blindly.
Concert for Bangladesh established the model for many Live Aid,Live 8 and Hurricane relief super star benifit shows that followed over the next 40 years.The main success of this concert was not only raising funds but also could excel the attention of the mass people in western world and the name Bangladesh was known all over the world.Remember that in 1971 media was not so powerful like today.There was no Internet or Cable TV like now.
The Concert for Bangladesh shows that music is not only for individuals pleasure, it shows that music can stand for a common humanitarian cause - setting the precedent that music could be used to serve a higher cause.;;;;;;;;

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