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That's What Friends Are For

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"That's What Friends Are For" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. It was first recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the film Night Shift, but it is better known for the 1985 cover version by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. This recording, billed as being by "Dionne & Friends", was released as a charity single for AIDS research and prevention. It was a massive hit, becoming the number-one single of 1986 in the United States, and winning the Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year. It raised over $3 million for its cause.


Dionne Warwick cover

"That's What Friends Are For"
Dionne and Friends That's What Friends Are For.jpg
Single by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder
(as "Dionne & Friends")
from the album Friends
B-side"Two Ships Passing in the Night"
ReleasedNovember 1985
  • Burt Bacharach
  • Carole Bayer Sager
Dionne Warwick singles chronology
"Run to Me"
"That's What Friends Are For"
"Whisper in the Dark"
Elton John singles chronology
"Wrap Her Up"
"That's What Friends Are For"
"Cry to Heaven"
Gladys Knight singles chronology
"Till I See You Again"
"That's What Friends Are For"
"Send It to Me"
Stevie Wonder singles chronology
"Part-Time Lover"
"That's What Friends Are For"
"Go Home"

A one-off collaboration headed by Dionne Warwick and featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder was released as a charity single in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1985. The song was written in the key of E.[citation needed] It was recorded as a benefit for American Foundation for AIDS Research, and raised over US$3 million for that cause. Warwick, who had previously raised money for blood-related diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, wanted to help combat the then-growing AIDS epidemic because she had seen friends die painfully of the disease.[1]

Elton John played piano and Stevie Wonder played harmonica; the two had previously worked together on 1983's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues".

Clockwise from left, Gladys Knight, Carole Bayer-Sager, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John, "That's What Friends Are For", 1985
Clockwise from left, Gladys Knight, Carole Bayer-Sager, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John, "That's What Friends Are For", 1985

In the United States, the song held the number-one spot of the adult contemporary chart for two weeks, the number-one spot of the soul chart for three weeks, and the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, all in January 1986, and became Billboard's number one single of 1986. It was certified Gold on January 15, 1986 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was the final US number one for all but John (John would have two more US number-ones during the 1990s). Due to Stevie Wonder's involvement, it also holds the distinction of being the last number-one song for anyone who had topped the charts before the British Invasion (Stevie Wonder's first number 1 hit, "Fingertips", came in 1963).

Outside the United States, the song topped the charts in Canada and Australia and reached the top 10 in Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. On the UK Singles Chart, the song debuted at number 49 and climbed to its peak of number 16 three weeks later, staying at that position for another week before descending the chart. It remained in the UK top 100 for a further five weeks, totaling 10 weeks on the chart altogether.

The Dionne and Friends version of the song won the performers the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, as well as Song of the Year for its writers, Bacharach and Bayer Sager. This rendition is also listed at number 78 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.[2]

Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder performed the song live together for the first time in 23 years at the 25th Anniversary AmfAR Gala in New York City on February 10, 2011.[3]



Weekly charts

Chart (1985–1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 10
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[7] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 36
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 7
Italy (Hit Parade Italia)[10] 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 13
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 3
Norway (VG-lista)[14] 6
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[15] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 16
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[20] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[21] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1986) Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[22] 10
Italy (Hit Parade Italia)[10] 49
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 28
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[24] 17
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 1

All-time charts

Chart Position
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 78


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[27] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

1990 benefit concert

On March 17, 1990 an AIDS benefit titled That's What Friends Are For: Arista Records 15th Anniversary Concert was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. One month later, CBS aired a two-hour version of the concert on television. The celebrity guests and Arista label performers were: Air Supply, Lauren Bacall, Burt Bacharach, Eric Carmen, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Clive Davis, Taylor Dayne, Michael Douglas, Exposé, Whoopi Goldberg, Melanie Griffith, Hall & Oates, Jennifer Holliday, Whitney Houston, Alan Jackson, Kenny G, Melissa Manchester, Barry Manilow, Milli Vanilli, Jeffrey Osborne, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Lisa Stansfield, The Four Tops, and Dionne Warwick. "That's What Friends Are For" was the finale song sung by Warwick and cousin Houston before being joined on the stage by the other guests of the event. Over $2.5 million was raised that night for the Arista Foundation which gave the proceeds to various AIDS organizations.

Covers Philippines versions

That's What Friends Are For is a song It was sing a long by DJ Jelly Kiss with DJ Princess Leigh featuring Marc Logan and Mike Enriquez



  1. ^ "That's What Friends Are For". Washington Post. 1988. So working against AIDS, especially after years of raising money for work on many blood-related diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, seemed the right thing to do. 'You have to be granite not to want to help people with AIDS, because the devastation that it causes is so painful to see. I was so hurt to see my friend die with such agony,' Warwick remembers. 'I am tired of hurting and it does hurt.'
  2. ^ Greatest of All-Time - Hot 100 Songs
  3. ^ Heyman, Marshall (February 11, 2011). "Superstar 'Friends' Reunite". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "Australia (ARIA/David Kent) Weekly Singles Charts from 1986". Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  5. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0625." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9353." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  8. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – That s What Friends Are For". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1986". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 48, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  14. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". VG-lista. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Songs T-V". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  16. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '86". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "End Of Year Charts 1986". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  24. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Songs of 1986 - Billboard Year End Charts". Bobborst. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  27. ^ "American single  certifications – Dionne Warwick & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 8, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links

This page was last edited on 31 December 2018, at 18:38
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