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How George Harrison became a music trendsetter with the concert for Bangladesh

As part of the Beatles, George Harrison helped redefine pop music. As the band changed their sound, Harrison found ways to incorporate Indian music (“Within You Without You”), his slide guitar talents (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”) and tender ballads (“Here Comes the Sun”) into the Mix tape to integrate. Harrison was a trendsetter within The Beatles and also with The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971.

Harrison’s introduction to Indian music by Ravi Shankar was so powerful that he considered leaving his wife. The sound of the music was like tapping into knowledge from a past life, and Harrison once said Indian music influenced his playing with the Beatles.

A cyclone that made landfall combined with Bangladesh’s (then East Pakistan) struggle for independence in 1971 led to a major refugee crisis. Between producing albums for other artists and his nerve-racking experience working with John Lennon during the Introduce Sessions planned Harrison and Shankar The Concert for Bangladesh.

The August 1, 1971 concerts (afternoon and evening shows) featured an all-star cast. Shankar, Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and Billy Preston performed. (George asked all of his former bandmates to perform, but both John and Paul McCartney declined).

The concert for Bangladesh grossed nearly $250,000, according to NPR, and Harrison became a music trendsetter in the process.

TIED TOGETHER: Tom Petty said George Harrison invented the idea of ​​rock ‘n’ roll to give back to people.

On the surface, Harrison’s concert for Bangladesh was helping his friend Shankar get help for his ancestors’ homeland. The former Beatle took care of the organization and brought stars like Clapton, Ringo and Dylan to the stage.

But Harrison, who put together the concert and later an album and film to support the relief efforts, made him a musical trendsetter.

Before the emergence of the so-called silent Beatle, no musician had worked for humanitarian causes in the same way. John had his bed-ins for peace, but these did not benefit a particular population or crisis like George’s Concert for Bangladesh did.

George has been a musical trendsetter with his endeavors, and not just because he’s using his celebrity influence for a humanitarian cause. Because of The Concert for Bangladesh, musicians organizing benefit concerts must apply for non-profit organization status. George overlooked that part, and the IRS withheld millions of dollars from album and movie ticket sales, according to NPR.

You can use a sharpie marker to draw a line from George’s landmark concert for Bangladesh to Bob Geldof’s Band Aid charity. George advised Geldof to make sure Band Aid doesn’t fall into the same traps as The Concert for Bangladesh. If George wasn’t a musical trendsetter, things would be very different for musicians with a charitable streak.

George paved the way for Geldof to several charities. He recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in 1984 to help famine in Ethiopia, hosted the Live Aid concerts in 1985 and the Live 8 concert in 2005. George’s pioneering ways didn’t stop with Geldof.

TIED TOGETHER: The Beatles’ first manager said George Harrison didn’t put up with “Bulls******”.

Dolly Parton has an impressive legacy of philanthropy that includes sending free books to children and buying musical instruments for school bands.

U2 singer Bono, who sang on “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” founded the ONE campaign to end poverty. He and The Edge were playing in a Ukrainian subway station at the beginning of that country’s war with Russia.

Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds, who Ringo Starr kissed after his band’s cover of a classic Beatles song, set up the Loveloud Foundation to support LGBTQ youth.

The wave of artists working for charity today can all be traced back to George Harrison and his Concert for Bangladesh as a trendsetter.

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TIED TOGETHER: George Harrison and John Lennon had a heated argument over Yoko Ono’s performance at the Concert for Bangladesh

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