Variety: Clive Davis Discusses ‘Gripping’ Documentary ‘Soundtrack of Our Lives,’ Prince and Working With Geniuses
By Jem Aswad
“It’s not sugar-coated — this is very real and gripping,” the legendary record man says
There have been many great “record men” since the advent of what we now know as popular music, but there’s only one Clive Davis.
His story has been told many times, not least in the documentary, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” which was directed by Chris Perkel and premieres at Radio City Music Hall as part of the Tribeca Film Festival Wednesday night. Davis, now 85, began his career as an attorney and was hired by Columbia Records, a client of the firm for which he worked, in 1960. He rose through the ranks and was appointed president of the label in 1967, and shortly afterward experienced an epiphany at the Monterey Pop Festival (the 50th anniversary of which is coming up in June), coming away with not just a vision of the burgeoning rock revolution, but also a contract for Janis Joplin. In the half century since then — at Columbia, the two labels he founded, Arista and J, and his current role as chief creative officer for Sony Music — he’s directed or had a strong hand in the careers of Sly and the Family Stone, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, The Kinks, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, and many others; via deals with L.A. Reid and Babyface’s LaFace Records and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy, he’s also been connected with Outkast, TLC, Usher, Pink, and The Notorious B.I.G.
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