The day ABBA, Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Rod Stewart and Andy Gibb sang a staggering medley

5 November 2020, 16:54 | Updated: 16 November 2020, 15:20

It's not everyday you get a line-up of an era's legends all on one stage, but that's exactly what happened one cold January day in 1979. Pictured (L to R) Barry Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart
It's not everyday you get a line-up of an era's legends all on one stage, but that's exactly what happened one cold January day in 1979. Pictured (L to R) Barry Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart. Picture: NBC

The line-up were joined by Donna Summer, Kris Kristofferson and Earth, Wind & Fire at the televised fundraising concert for UNICEF at The United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

It's not everyday you get a line-up of an era's legends all on one stage, but that's exactly what happened one cold January day in 1979.

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The brainchild of the Bee Gees and journalist David Frost, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer, ABBA, Rod Stewart, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kris Kristofferson and many more, were brought together in New York on January 9, 1979 for a spectacular collaboration.

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The event was called The Music for UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song, a gig held to raise money for world hunger programs and to mark the beginning of 1979's International Year of the Child.

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The incredible show culminated in a beautiful medley of Jackie DeShannon's 'Put A Little Bit Of Love In Your Heart' by all the acts and was recorded and televised the following day on NBC and across the world.
The incredible show culminated in a beautiful medley of Jackie DeShannon's 'Put A Little Bit Of Love In Your Heart' by all the acts and was recorded and televised the following day on NBC and across the world. Picture: NBC
The brainchild of the Bee Gees and journalist David Frost, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer (pictured), Rod Stewart and many more, were brought together in New York on January 9, 1979 for a spectacular collaboration.
The brainchild of the Bee Gees and journalist David Frost, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer (pictured), Rod Stewart and many more, were brought together in New York on January 9, 1979 for a spectacular collaboration. Picture: NBC
ABBA's performed their new single 'Chiquitita' and donated half of all royalties from the song to UNICEF.
ABBA's performed their new single 'Chiquitita' and donated half of all royalties from the song to UNICEF. Picture: NBC

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The biggest pop and disco stars of the time were roped in by the Gibb brothers for the one-off performance and saw each act sing one of their own hit songs, alongside special appearances from Henry Fonda, David Frost and Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler.

The incredible show culminated in a beautiful medley of Jackie DeShannon's 'Put A Little Bit Of Love In Your Heart' by all the acts and was recorded and televised the following day on NBC and across the world.

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ABBA's performed their new single 'Chiquitita' and donated half of all royalties from the song to UNICEF.

The Bee Gees' contribution was 'Too Much Heaven', released at the end of 1978, nine months after 'Night Fever' took the world by storm and which after the UNICEF gig topped the charts in the United States and Canada.

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The Bee Gees decided to give all of the publishing royalties of the single to UNICEF and as of 2003, 'Too Much Heaven' had earned a staggering over seven million dollars for the charity.

The Brothers Gibb and Olivia Newton-John practising backstage at the UNICEF charity gig on January 9, 1979
The Brothers Gibb and Olivia Newton-John practising backstage at the UNICEF charity gig on January 9, 1979. Picture: Getty

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim, applauded the trio and heralded the donation "an outstanding and generous initiative."

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However, the UNICEF gig was just one of many charitable initiatives the Bee Gees took part in during their careers.

In their first public performance together since Maurice's death, Barry and Robin reunited on stage in Miami in February 2006 for charity concert in aid of the Diabetes Research Institute, and also played at the 30th annual Prince's Trust Concert on 20 May 2006.

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