Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, January 22nd

On this day in 1986: Dionne & Friends were enjoying their first of four weeks at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “That’s What Friends Are For.”

“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.’

It is best 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 #1 single of 1986 in the United States, and winning 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.

In the United States, the song held the #1 spot of the adult contemporary chart for two weeks, the #1 spot of the soul chart for three weeks, and the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, all in January – February 1986, and became Billboard’s #1 ranked single of 1986. It was certified Gold on January 15, 1986 by the RIAA. It was the final U.S. #1 for all on the track except Elton John (John would have two more U.S. #1s during the 1990s). Due to Stevie Wonder’s involvement, it also holds the distinction of being the last #1 song for anyone who had topped the charts before the 1960s British Invasion (Stevie Wonder’s #1 hit, ‘Fingertips’, came out in 1963).

Outside of 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 U.K. singles chart, the song debuted at #49 and climbed to its peak of #16 three weeks later, staying at that position for another week before descending the chart. It remained in the U.K. top 100 for another five weeks, totaling 10 weeks on the chart altogether.

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1986:

1 3 THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR –•– Dionne & Friends (Arista)-11 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 1 SAY YOU, SAY ME –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-11 (1)
3 2 PARTY ALL THE TIME –•– Eddie Murphy (Columbia)-16 (2)
4 4 ALIVE AND KICKING –•– Simple Minds (A&M)-14 (3)
5 5 I MISS YOU –•– Klymaxx (Constellation)-19 (5)
6 6 SMALL TOWN –•– John Cougar Mellencamp (Riva)-12 (6)
7 8 TALK TO ME –•– Stevie Nicks (Modern)-10 (7)
8 12 BURNING HEART –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-12 (8)
9 10 WALK OF LIFE –•– Dire Straits (Warner Brothers)-12 (9)
10 7 TONIGHT SHE COMES –•– The Cars (Elektra)-12 (7)

11 13 MY HOMETOWN –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-7 (11)
12 14 I’M YOUR MAN –•– Wham! (Columbia)-8 (12)
13 19 SPIES LIKE US –•– Paul McCartney (Capitol)-9 (13)
14 18 GO HOME –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-9 (14)
15 16 IT’S ONLY LOVE –•– Bryan Adams & Tina Turner (A&M)-9 (15)
16 26 WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING –•– Billy Ocean (Jive)-8 (16)
17 20 CONGA –•– Miami Sound Machine (Epic)-14 (17)
18 22 YOU’RE A FRIEND OF MINE –•– Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne (Columbia)-13 (18)
19 11 SEPARATE LIVES –•– Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin (Atlantic)-16 (1)
20 25 GOODBYE –•– Night Ranger (MCA / Camel)-11 (20)


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