Rod Stewart Asks the Children of UNICEF 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?' -- Twisted Tales
The all-star benefit concert was still a new-ish concept in 1979. When UNICEF kicked off its International Year of the Child with a star-studded show at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Jan. 9 of that year, the hit performances included Abba's 'Chiquitita,' a singalong of Jackie DeShannon's 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart' and ... Rod Stewart's new disco hit, 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?'
Setting aside the dubious decision to feature Stewart's blatantly provocative come-on during a concert raising awareness for child hunger, the Music for UNICEF concert, subtitled 'A Gift of Song,' was a high-profile success. Performers included some of the biggest stars of the day – the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, John Denver. Hosted by Henry Winkler (then better known as Arthur Fonzarelli) and 'Saturday Night Live' cast member Gilda Radner, the show was videotaped and broadcast the following night on NBC.
Listen to Rod Stewart's Live 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?' UNICEF Performance
Performers donated the proceeds from sales of their songs to UNICEF, signing a symbolic parchment after their appearances. Abba's 'Chiquitita,' for instance, has raised a reported $2.5 million for the agency to date. But the good intentions were not without stumbling blocks.
Although announced as performers, both Fleetwood Mac and Barry Manilow had to back out. Elton John was a no-show. Both Abba and the Bee Gees ('Too Much Heaven') lip-synched their performances.
And Stewart, whose smash hit was