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That's What Friends Are For

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"That's What Friends Are For"
Song by Rod Stewart
from the album Night Shift
LabelWarner Bros.

"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,[1] Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. This recording, billed as being by Dionne Warwick & 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 more than $3 million for its cause.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • That's What Friends Are For (Lyrics)
  • #nowwatching Whitney, Luther, Dionne, and Stevie Wonder LIVE - Thats What Friends Are For
  • That's What Friends Are For
  • That's What Friends Are For - Limuel Llanes and Friends


Rod Stewart version

That’s What Friends Are For was included on the expanded edition of the 2008 remaster of the album Body Wishes.


Dionne Warwick version

"That's What Friends Are For"
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"
ReleasedOctober 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
"Act of War"
"That's What Friends Are For"
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"
Music video
"Dionne Warwick - That's What Friends Are For" on YouTube

Dionne Warwick's recording of "That's What Friends Are For" marked the first time she had worked with Bacharach since the 1970s, when Warwick felt abandoned by Bacharach and Hal David dissolving their partnership. Warwick said of their reconciliation:[1]

We realized we were more than just friends. We were family. Time has a way of giving people the opportunity to grow and understand ... Working with Burt is not a bit different from how it used to be. He expects me to deliver and I can. He knows what I'm going to do before I do it, and the same with me. That's how intertwined we've been.[1]

A one-off collaboration headed by Warwick and featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder, with a different second verse, was released as a charity single in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1985. The song is in the key of E major.[2] It was recorded as a benefit for American Foundation for AIDS Research, and raised more than 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.[3] John plays piano and Wonder plays harmonica on the song; 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, 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 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 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 (his first number-one 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, 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 75 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.[4]

Warwick, John, Knight, and 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.[5]





Certifications and sales for "That's What Friends Are For"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[36] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[38] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming 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. More than $2.5 million was raised that night for the Arista Foundation which gave the proceeds to various AIDS organizations.

Other versions

In September 2023, British actor-singers Denise van Outen and Duncan James released a duet version in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, which was recorded in tribute to their friend, singer Sarah Harding, who died from breast cancer in 2021.[39]


  1. ^ a b c McEvoy, Colin (February 9, 2023). "What It Was Like to Work with Burt Bacharach, in the Words of his Collaborators". Biography. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
  2. ^ "That's What Friends Are For by Dionne & Friends – Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes. November 14, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "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.'
  4. ^ Greatest of All-Time – Hot 100 Songs
  5. ^ Heyman, Marshall (February 11, 2011). "Superstar 'Friends' Reunite". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ 1985 Dionne Warwick & Friends Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0625." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9353." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Eurotipsheet. Vol. 3, no. 1. January 6, 1986. p. 15. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  12. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "Dionne Warwick". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 278. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  13. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Tubes de chaque Artiste commençant par W". Infodisc. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – That s What Friends Are For". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved June 8, 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Dionne Warwick".
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 48, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". VG-lista. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Songs T-V". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  24. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  27. ^ " – Dionne & Friends – That's What Friends Are For" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  28. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1986". Kent Music Report. No. 650. December 1986. Retrieved January 24, 2023 – via Imgur.
  29. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '86". RPM. Retrieved June 8, 2018 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1986". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  32. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  33. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 52. December 27, 1986. p. Y-21.
  34. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video: Top Adult Contemporary Singles". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 52. December 27, 1986. p. Y-27.
  35. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video: Top Black Singles". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 52. December 27, 1986. p. Y-23.
  36. ^ "Canadian  single  certifications – Dionne Warwick & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Music Canada. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  37. ^ "British  single  certifications – Dionne Warwick – That's What Friends Are For". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  38. ^ "American  single  certifications – Dionne Warwick & Friends – That's What Friends Are For". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  39. ^ O'Connor, Rachael (September 1, 2023). "Duncan James and Denise Van Outen reveal touching way they're remembering Sarah Harding". Metro. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
This page was last edited on 24 December 2023, at 23:13
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