George Harrison, we are grateful

How can a man die if he had significant contributions to the birth of a nation? 15 years ago, he passed away but since that very moment he started living in all the freedom loving hearts of Bangalis.

Yes, the man, also a famous musician, is George Harrison (Feb 25, 1943 – Nov 29, 2001).

Harrison is long remembered for his contribution to the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971. When his friend, the great Sitar maestro Ravi Sankar, approached him asking for help for a flood and war ravaged Bangladesh, Harrison, also known as the “shy Beatle” decided to organise the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Harrison later immortalised in the song “Bangla Desh” with which he would close both the concerts:

“My friend came to me, with sadness in his eyes

Told me that he wanted help, before his country dies

Although I couldn’t feel the pain, I knew I had to try

Now I’m asking all of you, to help us save some lives…”

Harrison later said (in his autobiography I Me Mine) “So I did get involved, and for three months I was on the telephone sitting up what became the concert for Bangla Desh, trying to talk people into it, talking to Eric and all those people who did do it.”

“He had an emotional attachment to Bangladesh,” said Olivia Harrison, whom Harrison first met in 1974 and married in 1978.

“Ravi was very distressed… which George could not ignore,” said Olivia describing how Harrison conceived the historic concert in Madison Square Garden, New York. “He [George] was in very deep water. It was only a year after his band [the Beatles] had disbanded. He was in the middle of a recording… He felt that his part of contribution [to the cause of Bangladesh] was music.”

He invited his famous rock star friends to participate, including Bob Dylan, won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year, and Eric Clapton, and the concert was a resounding success that not only got global attention for a South Asian Nation, it also became an amazing example for large scale big name benefits.

His rockabilly-influenced playing gave the Beatles’ early recordings their distinctive guitar-driven sound and his voice provided many of the group’s most arresting vocal harmonies. His fascination with Eastern music also helped broaden the band’s sound on such classic albums as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “The White Album.”

Although overshadowed by the more prolific songwriters Lennon and McCartney, Harrison composed several of the Beatles’ finest songs, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something” and “Within You, Without You.”

Following the group’s breakup in 1970, he enjoyed a successful solo career that included such albums as “All Things Must Pass,” “The Concert For Bangladesh,” “Cloud Nine” and “Brainwashed.”

In the late 1980s and early ’90,s he collaborated with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne in the whimsical musical super group The Traveling Wilburys.

Harrison is immortal for his lifelong contribution to music and humanity.

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