Elton John / Gladys Knight / Dionne Warwick / Stevie Wonder

That's What Friends Are For

Song Review by

The Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager ballad "That's What Friends Are For" was sung by Rod Stewart on the soundtrack of the movie Night Shift. It resurfaced when Bacharach and Sager were compiling material for Dionne Warwick's 1985 LP. Warwick and Bacharach hadn't worked together for over a decade after countersuing each other after Bacharach and lyricist/co-producer Hal David split up. TV producer Aaron Spelling helped seal the riff after he brought Warwick and Bacharach together to record the theme song for Spelling's mid-'80s TV series Finder of Lost Loves. Sager suggested that Warwick listen to "That's What Friends Are For." The singer liked the song and thought it would make a good duet between herself and Stevie Wonder. Warwick and Wonder had recently worked together on The Woman in Red soundtrack. Actress Elizabeth Taylor was at the recording session for "That's What Friends Are For" and Sager thought it would be a good idea to donate the single's proceeds to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In the process of recording, producer Bacharach decided to add more vocals, with Warwick suggesting Gladys Knight and Elton John. Issued under the name of Dionne and Friends, the million-selling "That's What Friends Are For" parked at number one R&B for three weeks and number one pop for four weeks in early 1986. It was Warwick's first number one single, though her duet with the Spinners, "Then Came You," was a gold 1974 number one pop/number two R&B smash.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Friends 1985 Arista 4:14
The Love Songs [Arista 1989] 1989 Arista 4:14
The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection 1998 Rhino 4:14
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:16
The Very Best of Burt Bacharach [Rhino] 2001 Warner Bros. / Rhino 4:14
The Best of Dionne Warwick [Paradiso] 2001 Paradiso 4:18
Heartbreaker: The Very Best of Dionne Warwick 2002 Warner Elektra Atlantic Corp. / WEA International 0:00
Platinum & Gold Collection 2003 BMG Heritage / Arista 4:16
Essential: 40th Anniversary Tour Edition 2004 Warner Music 4:13
Legends 2005 Sony Music Distribution 4:19
Number 1's 2007 Motown 0:00
The Love Collection 2008 Sony BMG 4:12
Diamonds 2017 Island / Mercury / Universal 0:00