The Gift of Song UNICEF benefit concert and telecast in January from the U.N. General Assembly raised about $5 million through income from telecast and a future recording, and from royalties on hit songs that participating artists donated to UNICEF.

The “Gift of Song” concert and telecast in January from the United Nations General Assembly was a benefit for UNICEF, and cynics at the time said that the whole project was a benefit for UNICEF, and cynics at the time said that the whole project was self-serving on the part of Robert Stigwood and David Frost, the organizers. The idea was to raise money through income from the telecast and a future recording, and from royalties on hit songs the participating artists donated to UNICEF. At the time, figures of $50 million and $100 million were being tossed about as potential income for UNICEF, but doubters suggested that the figure would be far less and that money was being made by the organizers that was being ignored in all their pious self-congratulation.

So, the other day, after royalties had had time to begin coming in, a phone call to UNICEF seemed in order, to see just what had happened. Elfie Lunkenheimer, an information officer for UNICEF, reported that the organization was basically quite content with what it had received, in terms of money and worldwide exposure through the 58 countries that have purchased the television special.

“We always had a much more modest figure in mind,” she said. “It would have been unfair to the children to have planned projects on the basis of such estimates. A conservative guess as to what we will receive eventually would be $US5 million, but it may well be more. Mr Stigwood took care of all of his overhead costs himself. A lot of people are awfully jealous of whatever he does. But we do feel he’s been quite straightforward and honest with us in this venture.” Transcribed for ABBA World

The New York Times · Friday, 6 April 1979 (Page C19)


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