George Harrison's Bangladesh Benefit Concert Released on DVD and CD

Before Live 8 and Live AID, there was George Harrison. In 1971, the former Beatle organized a benefit concert for the suffering nation of Bangladesh.

He brought in an all-star lineup -- Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and Eric Clapton -- for two shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden. All the proceeds -- $250,000 from ticket sales alone -- went to help Bangladeshi refugees who had fled to India to escape a civil war between West and East Pakistan.

Harrison, who became deeply interested in Hinduism, and by extension, South Asia, noticed the suffering nation when few other Westerners did. It led him to put on the first ever rock-charity concert.

"Historically, nobody had ever tried to pull off a big benefit concert before," said Jann Wenner, editor-in-chief at Rolling Stone who covered the event. "[It] was a breakthrough of a kind."

The concert is now out on DVD and CD and Harrison was working on a new release when he died from cancer in 2001.

Much of the footage has not been seen before, said Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison.

"Once we pulled the film, we started looking at it and realized it was stuff that was unseen or hadn't been seen probably since George put the cans back on the shelf since 1972," she said.

The concert represents the beginning of a new celebrity phenomenon, but it also reminds those who were there of the past. Wenner recalls the "innocence of the moment."

"How really good hearted it all was," he said. "Those were the days."

While it will bring thousands of fans back down memory lane, it gives Olivia Harrison another chance to "just see George."

"He was looking very serious, and then there's this great sort of applause when he begins to sing 'Here Comes the Sun' and there's this little smile," she said. "You just see George, you know, this warmth coming out of him. For me, that's one of my favorite moments."

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