10 Great Concerts for a Cause

From the Festival for Peace to 12-12-12

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Concert for Bangladesh (1971)
Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News via Getty Images9/10

Concert for Bangladesh (1971)

More than 7 million Bengalis had already fled to India from the genocidal war waged against their struggle for independence when Ravi Shankar approached George Harrison with the idea of putting together a benefit concert for the refugees. In response, Harrison organized an unprecedented event — the two concerts at Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971 constituted the first rock fundraiser on such a scale. Shankar performed traditional Indian music, while Harrison lead a supergroup featuring Leon Russell, Billy Preston, his old bandmate Ringo Starr and a faltering Eric Clapton, then struggling with heroin addiction. Even Bob Dylan agreed to perform at the last minute. The concert raised $250,000 for UNICEF, and a recording of the performances, released as a three-LP set, would eventually raise more. "What we did show was that musicians and people are more humane than politicians," Harrison would later recall.

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