Remembering Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach

The Board and staff of amfAR grieve the loss of legendary songwriter and producer Burt Bacharach, who died at his home in Los Angeles on February 8, 2023.

In 1982 Bacharach co-wrote “That’s What Friends Are For,” a colossal hit that became an anthem for the fight against AIDS.

In 1985, Dionne Warwick invited Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to join her in a collaborative rendition of the song as a fundraiser for amfAR. All four artists, as well as Bacharach and co-writer, Carole Bayer Sager, generously agreed to donate all proceeds generated by the recording to amfAR to raise funds for HIV research. Clive Davis, then president of Arista Records, agreed to do the same.

The song touched the hearts of millions and brought people together in solidarity with those who were suffering from and dying of a deadly new disease. Both Bacharach and Bayer Sager were members of amfAR’s National Council, helping combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

The song was Billboard’s number one single for 1986. It won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 1986 Grammy Awards, as well as Song of the Year for Bacharach and Bayer Sager. 

It raised millions of dollars for amfAR and spawned a series of successful fundraising events. In 1990, Clive Davis turned his Arista Records 15th anniversary concert into a star-studded “That’s What Friends Are For” benefit at Radio City Music Hall. That event alone raised $2 million in support of amfAR’s mission.

In 2011, Dionne Warwick, Sir Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder reunited at amfAR’s New York Gala for a special performance of the song in commemoration of the amfAR’s 25th anniversary.

amfAR joins in expressing our profound gratitude for Mr. Bacharach’s exceptional contributions to the fight against AIDS and we extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Bacharach’s family. 

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