The Beatles Top 60 Solo Songs: #53: “Bangla Desh”- George Harrison.
George Harrison’s great friend and musical guru Ravi Shankar came to him and told him about the crisis going on in Bangla Desh- which had suffered from a cyclone and war- and asked Harrison if there was anything he could do to help? George sprang into action-by writing this song and releasing it as a single- it peaked at #23 in the US and #10 in the UK. It would be called the first ever pop charity single. The single was released in July 1971. On August 1, 1971- six weeks of work by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar resulted in The Concert For Bangla Desh- at Madison Square Garden. There were two concerts and afternoon and an evening concert- drawing 40,000 plus people. George was able to collect a great roster of musicians to play- the big one being his friend Bob Dylan. $250,000 from gate receipts were sent to Bangladesh relief and over the years the film and album of the concert has raised over $12 million. Ravi Shankar decades later said-“In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion.” Te Concert For Bangladesh would inspire countless benefit concerts that have followed it over the past 5 decades.