About The Song
On January 18, 1986, “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne & Friends hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The uplifting song, that reminded us to “keep smiling and keep shining,” was performed by an epic supergroup spearheaded by Dionne Warwick and featured Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. Released as a charity single to support AIDS research and prevention, the song raised awareness and $3 million dollars for the cause. Aside from becoming the unofficial anthem for the fight against AIDS, “That’s What Friends Are For” also became the No. 1 song of 1986. The song won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and for Song of the Year at the 1987 Grammys.
Songwriting power duo Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager originally wrote “That’s What Friends Are For” for the 1982 movie, “Night Shift.” Recorded by Rod Stewart, the song was played over the closing credits but was not released as a single. Recognizing that their song had major hit potential, the songwriters encouraged Warwick to record it in 1985. She agreed to the plan as long as it was a duet with Wonder. Eventually, Knight and John joined in as well. The group then collectively decided to turn it into a charity single for AIDS.