On This Gay Day: ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ wins Grammy award

‘That’s What Friends Are For’ wins Grammy award for Song of the Year

On this day in 1986 the song That’s What Friends Are For won the Song of the Year category at the Grammy Awards. The recording by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John also picked up the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

The collaboration between the four superstars raised millions of dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) and brought attention to HIV awareness and education.

The song was a hit around world reaching the number one spot in the USA, Canada and Australia. It would also be the last time Wonder, Knight or Warwick would have a number 1 hit in the USA, while Elton John would go to have continuing success.

Elton John would go on to found his own AIDS Foundation in the early 1990’s that to date has raised over $600 million for AIDS research and support.

The song was written by husband-and-wife songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager and had originally been recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack to the film Night Shift. Bacharach died on 8th February 2023 aged 94.

The foursome reunited in 2011 and performed the song at the 25th anniversary of AmFAR.

In 1995 Olympic diver Greg Louganis shared he was living with HIV

American diver Greg Louganis won his first Olympic gold medal for the Men’s 3-metre springboard at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. A few days later he went on to win another gold for the 10-metre platform.

The athlete would have further success at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and would be labeled one of the greatest divers ever. At the time Louganis was keeping his sexuality and HIV status a secret.

In 1994 Louganis came out in a pre-taped announcement that was played at the opening ceremony of the Gay Games. On this day in 1995 he shared that he was living with HIV, speaking about the medical condition with journalist Barbara Walters.

Releasing his memoir Breaking The Surface around the same time he shared that he had been in a romantic relationship with his manager from 1983 to 1988. The relationship was an abusive one with Louganis alleging that he had been sexually assaulted during the relationship, and his manager had also taken most of his income.

At the time of his announcement that he was living with HIV Louganis was criticised for not publicly sharing his status. It was highlighted that at the 1988 Seoul Olympics the athlete had hit his head on the diving board and subsequently bled into the pool.

Louganis said he had been paralysed with fear that he might infect other athletes or the doctors treating him. Health experts quickly dismissed the accusations noting that chlorine kills HIV, and the small amount of blood would have been very diluted in the pool, and that transmission would only be possible if someone else had an open wound. The incident is seen as a breakthrough moment in HIV education.

His autobiography was turned into a TV movie in 1997 with Mario Lopez portraying Louganis. The Olympian has gone on to be a prominent activist fighting against the stigma associated with HIV, and LGBTI related discrimination.

In 2013 he announced his engagement to partner Johnny Chaillot, the couple wed in 2013.

OIP Staff. This post was first published in 2022 and was subsequently updated. 

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