Monday, August 1, 2011

This Monday's One Fun Thing

I was always a George girl. Well, till I got to be a radical teenager and discovered John Lennon...but even then, George was still in my heart. When I was 10, the Beatles took on the world via the Ed Sullivan Show and my fate as a rock 'n roller was sealed. Ever the one to root for the underdog, I did not choose the "cute" Paul McCartney with his baby face and sweet smile, nor the "funny" Ringo Starr shaking his mop-top in time to his drumbeats, nor even the intellectual and sarcastic John Lennon (I think, partly, because these words flashed across the TV screen: "Sorry, girls, he's married.") I picked George Harrison because he was quiet and shy and not too many other girls seemed to pick him. I didn't want him to be left out. Once I took him on as my fave, the deal was done and I was a George girl through thick and thin. He turned out to be smart and funny and spiritual and probably the least caught up in all of the fame and hype, a private guy who eventually lived his life as he thought life should be lived.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh, largely seen as the first celebrity fundraiser for a cause. George's friend, the fabulous Bengali sitar player Ravi Shankar, asked for help in supporting the people of Bangladesh who had been greatly affected by a civil war and a cyclone in the early 1970's. Within five weeks, the concert was organized and presented at Madison Square Garden, featuring Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, and a variety of other musicians and backup singers. It was a spectacle, an extravaganza, an amazing coming together of talent and energy like nothing we'd seen before.

At the time, I was a 17 year old high school student living at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas. On occasion, I babysat for some family friends who lived around the corner and at Christmas time, they presented me with the double album from the concert. I had wished hard for it but didn't think I could afford to buy it myself. What a wonderful gift! I loved that album and played it constantly! And I loved George for this:

The opening of the film features footage from a press conference in which Harrison and Shankar announce the concert. Harrison is asked by a reporter: "With all the enormous problems in the world, how did you happen to choose this one to do something about?"

"Because I was asked by a friend if I would help, you know, that's all," was Harrison's reply. -- from Wikipedia

Even as a young married woman, I had a huge poster of the long-haired and bearded George on my wall. :) And I was thrilled to see him (and some of his friends) in concert later in the 1970's, my consolation for never seeing the Beatles when they were together. I bought all of his albums, good and bad, out of true George-girl loyalty over the years. He had a few hits and lots of obscure tunes that never made the radio, but those George songs are still a part of the soundtrack of my life.

40 years later, I hadn't thought about the Concert for Bangladesh in many moons. George has been dead for a number of years, another one gone sooner than he should have been. It's funny but I was listening to his album "Brainwashed" recently and remembering how much I liked it. Last week I saw mention of the 40th anniversary, went to Itunes, and added the songs to my collection again. It's good to have them back.


Suzassippi said...

My "Monday's one fun thing" was 122 degree temperatures while I was outside helping Dad feed. I just thought it was hot in Mississippi.

Gigi said...

Wow. I will keep my fun thing over yours. :) Don't have a heat stroke. How's everything besides the weather?