George Harrison’s ‘Concert For Bangladesh’ was a turning point in popular culture, marking the first star-studded charity event which would go on and set a precedent for future charitable concerts. With the great and good of music all coming together to shine a light on a more than worthy cause, it all originated from the former Beatles guitarist’s original initiative where Bob Dylan well and truly stole the show.
The two very specially curated Concert For Bangladesh shows on August 1st, 1971, would go on and set a precedent for benefit gigs forever. The all-star day would see the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Badfinger and Ringo Starr all take to the stage to unite for a cause bigger than themselves.
The shows came about after the former Beatles man held discussions his close friend Ravi Shankar who, detailing issues during a dinner meeting, initially planned to raise $25,000 dollars to help the Bangladeshi cause. However, after getting Harrison on his side, the modest plans quickly grew into something rather extraordinary.
There was great two-way respect between Harrison and Dylan, both on a personal level as well as on a more professional basis where they looked up to each other’s art for inspiration. In an interview with Melody Maker in 1975, Harrison said: “Bob Dylan is the most consistent artist there is. Even his stuff which people loathe, I like.”