Pop concert to benefit UNICEF. By Richard F. Shepard

The United Nations General Assembly hall, which often rocks to vocal political discords, will be the scene of an unprecedented pop music concert on the 9th of January, 1979 that will be televised the next night on NBC and will also mark the start of an unusual mass donation for the benefit of UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The taped program, with David Frost as host, will be seen Wednesday, January 10, from 8 to 9.30 p.m. and will sandwich into its 90 minutes 11 of the top pop singing individuals and groups. They are ABBA, The Bee Gees, Rita Coolidge, John Denver, Andy Gibb, Elton John, Kris Kristofferson, Olivia Newton-John, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer and Earth, Wind and Fire.

Although the program is designed as entertainment, it will also serve as a display case for an innovation in fundraising. All the artists performing will be singing songs they themselves composed, with the rights to the songs donated in perpetuity to UNICEF, through its United States Committee for UNICEF.

Most of the singers are writing new songs for the program. Mr Frost, who with Robert Stigwood is serving as executive producer, said that one or two would be donating songs that could become durable standards. The Bee Gees, for example, are donating their recent hit, Too Much Heaven.

Mr Frost and Mr Stigwood will receive no fee for their services to the show, entitled “A Gift of Song – The Music for UNICEF Concert.” NBC is buying the show for the air, and the proceeds, after costs of production and distribution, will belong to UNICEF. The Chappell Music Company has donated its services to administer the music publishing rights for the songs contributed by the “Founder-Composers,” as the participants are called. Mr Frost said that the program may also be carried by 250 FM radio stations and could lead to a record album.

The project was initiated by the two executive producers and The Bee Gees.

“If other composers come forward and do the same thing, and if all the other plans are carried out, in the long term we could be thinking of millions of dollars for UNICEF,” Mr Frost said. “Not only here, but artists in other countries can do the same with their national UNICEF committees. Music copyrights, like those for works of art, apply for the life of the artist plus 50 years.”

The show is a highlight of the United Nations International Year of the Child. Mr Frost said that the United States Committee would send out 500,000 letters that will urge viewers to organize parties in their homes the night of the show, something that could raise even more money for UNICEF. Do not forget the neediest! Transcribed for ABBA World

The New York Times · Tuesday, 5 December 1978 (Page C7)

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