How George Harrison Paved the Way for USA for Africa's 'We Are the World'

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

A George Harrison song that wasn’t a huge hit became influential. George’s song was commercially overshadowed by USA for Africa’s “We Are the World.”

George Harrison was not one of the artists featured on USA for Africa’s mega single “We Are the World.” Despite that, he paved the way for the song with his own music and actions. Here’s a look at a time when he took an influential moral stand.

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In 1971, George released the song “Bangla Desh” to raise money for the victims and survivors of the Bangladesh Liberation War and the ensuing genocide. He used a pair of concerts called The Concert for Bangladesh to raise funds for the same causes. Financial Times reports “Bangla Desh” was the first charity single. Since the idea of a charity single is so simple, it’s surprising no one had released one before the 1970s.

“Bangla Desh” was far from the last song of its kind. The genre came into full force in the 1980s with the release of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and USA for Africa’s “We Are the World.” The former has become a Yuletide staple, while the latter is primarily remembered for the array of artists who sang on it.


Source: Matthew Trzcinski/


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