In 1971 George Harrison was asked by his close friend Ravi Shankar to help raise awareness and fund relief for refugees in Bangladesh.
Harrison was willing to help but decided he could do little. He told Shankar, “If you want me to take part, I think I’d better take part already.” So the former member of the Beatles – who had broken up before 1970 – began recruiting famous musicians to stage an incredibly lavish event called The Concert for Bangladesh.
Throughout the staging of Concert for Bangladesh, Harrison brought in huge names like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Badfinger to play the show at Madison Square Garden.
He also brought fellow Fab Four mates Ringo Starr and John Lennon into the project, which meant that three of the four Beatles were now playing for the monumental occasion (although Lennon later walked out after an argument with wife Yoko Ono, prompting him to leave New York before the residency took place). ceremony).
But when he reached out to recruit Paul McCartney to the project, he didn’t. (via far)
Read more: Paul McCartney slammed ‘torturous’ coaching – he feared it would change the Beatles’ music
McCartney opened up about refusing to join the project in 1971, explaining that it was all down to the involvement of the Beatles’ former manager, Allen Klein.
Cline became the band’s manager after the death of founder and father figure Brian Epstein in 1967. Almost immediately, McCartney confronted the newcomer after learning of alleged poor business practices.
McCartney later admitted: “You know I was asked to play George’s gig in New York for Bangladesh and I didn’t? Well, listen. Klein called a press conference and told everyone I refused to do it.”
“It wasn’t like that,” confirmed the Hey Jude star.
McCartney continued, “I told George the reason I couldn’t do it was because it would mean all the press in the world would be screaming that the Beatles are back together again and I know that would have made Klein very happy.”
He added, “It would have been an historic event and Klein would have taken credit for it.”
The rock star went on to say that he also “didn’t really fancy playing” the concert. Although if Klein had not been involved, he may have “had second thoughts”.
In the end, however, Harrison didn’t really need McCartney’s involvement.
Shankar initially hoped to raise approximately $25,000 for Bangladesh. Harrison later confirmed the concert and the following CD gave more than $45 million to the United Nations.
A year later, an Apple Films documentary was shown in cinemas showing how the entire event came together.