Clive Davis looks back on his legendary career in the music industry

Whispers of the golden ear

Clive Davis. The musical genius who made Whitney, Aretha, Alicia, Springsteen, Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, Taylor Swift, John Mellencamp. And now he’s on the cover of People.

So ask yourself if we who loved Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra – normal type songs – will we ever have that again?

“Decades change music. Currently, hip-hop dominates. Also country and pop. But the greatest, notwithstanding Drake or Kendrick Lamar, is Taylor Swift.

“Who thought this could happen to me. At 18, I lost my parents a year apart. With $4,000 to my name, based on the charities of others, I got an NYU scholarship and thought maybe I’d rise above the working class of my parents. through the law. In those years, a kid in Brooklyn had to be a lawyer or a doctor. Three years of law and luck landed me in a law firm that represented Columbia Records. I became chief lawyer and that’s how I got into music.

“I am now the creative director of Sony. All my Grammys are on their shelf. NYU just created a museum in my honor. Two floors. The whole story of my life. From Whitney’s signing to her death. Our lives have totally interacted. Not only did I sign her, but I brought her 18 songs for each album and we got closer. Our ears were synchronized with each other. Now I’m co-producing his biopic. Unknown British actress plays her. Stanley Tucci plays me.

“I only missed Meatloaf which seemed unlikely. Even other labels didn’t see him as a lasting artist. Also, but only in his early days, John Mellencamp. Later we got together.

Davis and Alicia Keys at her 90th birthday party on April 6, 2022.
Davis and Alicia Keys at her 90th birthday party on April 6, 2022.
Photo by L. Busacca/Getty Images for Clive Davis

Clive’s recent 90th birthday party drew Earth, Wind & Fire, Busta Rhymes, Lin-Manuel Miranda – plus 600 other names. And her favorite song? “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel.

And if he could, what would he tell his mother?

“I did well.”


song of praise

Because we’re talking about music, here’s more music:

Judy Collins sang for the show “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song” at The Beacon on Sunday.

Collins also loves Bob Dylan. But “he did not deserve the 2016 Nobel Literature. He stole a real poet.

Judy Collins performing in the "Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a journey, a song" concert at the Beacon Theater on June 12, 2022.
Judy Collins during the “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song” concert at the Beacon Theater on June 12, 2022.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Meanwhile, she’s also singing the praises of her new album “Spellbound.”


Now listen to this

Ben Vereen will receive the Juneteenth Legacy Award from the Broadway League. Not only his career, but also his humanitarian work for children in Ukraine. Also the 50th anniversary of “Pippin”, which gave Ben a Tony. . . Are the stars different? Yes, if they sparkle. Once, Britney Spears demanded four folding chairs, a phone, a pack of Doritos and indigestion pills. Also: Meryl Streep wanted a helicopter to commute daily from her home in Connecticut to the set in Princeton, NJ. When executives balked, she said to bring the filming closer to her house. They did it.


Broken down in showbiz when: Your 8 x 10 glossy papers hang in the post office. Thieves break into your house and leave something behind. Your wedding organist has a monkey with a pewter mug. A thrift store refuses your clothes. And the authorities arrest you for wearing polyester.

Only in New York, children, only in New York.

Alice P. Darby