Clive Davis

Last updated
Clive Davis
Clive Davis.jpg
Clive Davis in New York City on November 13, 2007
Born
Clive Jay Davis

(1932-04-04) April 4, 1932 (age 87)
NationalityAmerican
Alma mater New York University
Harvard Law School
Occupation Record producer, Music executive
Years active1965present
Spouse(s)
Helen Cohen
(m. 1956;div. 1965)

Janet Adelberg
(m. 1965;div. 1985)
ChildrenFour including Doug Davis
Website www.clivedavis.com

Clive Jay Davis (born April 4, 1932) is an American record producer, A&R executive, and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. [1]

Record producer Individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

Artists and repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label or publishing company; every activity involving artists to the point of album release is generally considered under the purview, and responsibility, of A&R.

A music executive or record executive is a person within a record label who works in senior management, making executive decisions over the label's artists. Their role varies greatly but in essence, they can oversee one, or many, aspects of a record label, including A&R, contracts, management, publishing, production, manufacture, marketing/promotion, distribution, copyright, and touring. Although music executives work in senior management, a number of music executives have gone on to establish their own record labels as owners themselves, sometimes being involved in the music industry initially as artists, A&Rs, or producers for a number of years and building a strong reputation.

Contents

From 1967 to 1973, Davis was the president of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975 through 2000 until founding J Records. From 2002 until April 2008, Davis was the chair and CEO of the RCA Music Group (which included RCA Records, J Records and Arista Records), chair and CEO of J Records, and chair and CEO of BMG North America.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Along with Columbia, RCA, and Epic, Arista is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.

J Records American record label

J Records was an American record label owned and operated by Sony Music Entertainment, and was distributed through the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 2000 by Clive Davis and was dissolved into RCA Records in 2011.

Davis is credited with hiring a young recording artist, Tony Orlando, for Columbia in 1967. He has signed many artists that achieved superstar status, including Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Loggins & Messina, Ace Of Base, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, and Westlife. Davis is also credited with bringing Whitney Houston and Barry Manilow to prominence. [2]

Tony Orlando American musician

Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis, known professionally as Tony Orlando, is an American singer, songwriter, producer, music executive, and actor, known for the group Tony Orlando and Dawn and their 1970s hits.

Janis Joplin American singer and songwriter

Janis Lyn Joplin was an American rock, soul, and blues singer-songwriter, and one of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era. After releasing three albums, she died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. A fourth album, Pearl, was released in January 1971, just over three months after her death. It reached number one on the Billboard charts.

Laura Nyro American musician and songwriter

Laura Nyro was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist. She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968) and New York Tendaberry (1969), and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. Her style was a hybrid of Brill Building-style New York pop, jazz, rhythm and blues, show tunes, rock, and soul.

As of 2018, Davis is the chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment. [3]

A chief creative officer (CCO) is the highest ranking position of the creative team within a company. Depending on the type of company, this position may be responsible for the overall look and feel of marketing, media, and branding associated with the organization. The CCO may also be charged with managing, developing, and leading the team of creative directors, art directors, designers, and copywriters.

Early life and education

Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family, [4] the son of Herman and Florence Davis. His father was an electrician and salesman. [5] Davis was raised in the middle-class neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. [5]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York (state) American state

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn Neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City

Crown Heights is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Crown Heights is bounded by Washington Avenue to the west, Atlantic Avenue to the north, Ralph Avenue to the east, and Clarkson Avenue/East New York Avenue to the south. It is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 2 miles (3.2 km) long. Neighborhoods bordering Crown Heights include Prospect Heights to the west, Flatbush and Prospect Lefferts Gardens to the south, Brownsville to the east, and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the north.

His mother died at age 47, and his father died the following year when Davis was only a teenager, leaving him an orphan with no money. [5] He then moved in with his married sister in Bayside, Queens, New York City, New York. [5] He attended New York University College of Arts and Science, where he graduated [5] magna cum laude , with a degree in Political science [6] and Phi Beta Kappa in 1953. He received a full scholarship to Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Student Advisers and graduated in 1956. [7]

Bayside, Queens Neighborhoods of Queens in New York City

Bayside is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is bounded by Whitestone to the northwest, the East River to the north, the Long Island Sound and Little Neck Bay to the northeast, Douglaston to the east, Bellerose and Floral Park to the southeast, Queens Village to the south, Hollis to the southwest, and Fresh Meadows to the west.

Queens Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens also shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Coterminous with Queens County since 1899, the borough of Queens is the second largest in population, with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017, approximately 48 percent of them foreign-born. Queens County also is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, which is coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City's boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City's boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation's fourth most populous, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.

Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior.

Career

Columbia/CBS Records years

Davis practiced law in a small firm in New York, then moved on to the firm of Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petschek, and Freund two years later, where partner Ralph Colin had CBS as a client. Davis was subsequently hired by a former colleague at the firm, Harvey Schein, to become assistant counsel of CBS subsidiary Columbia Records at age 28, and then general counsel the following year. [8]

As part of a reorganization of Columbia Records Group, group president Goddard Lieberson appointed Davis as administrative vice president and general manager in 1965. [9] In 1966, CBS formed the Columbia-CBS Group which reorganized CBS's recorded music operations into CBS Records with Davis heading the new unit. [10] The next year, Davis was appointed president and became interested in the newest generation of folk rock and rock and roll. One of his earliest pop signings was the British folk-rock musician Donovan, who enjoyed a string of successful hit singles and albums released in the U.S. on the Epic Records label. That same year, Davis hired 23 year old recording artist Tony Orlando as general manager of Columbia publishing subsidiary April-Blackwood Music, who went on to become vice-president of Columbia/CBS Music and sign Barry Manilow in 1969. [11]

In June 1967, at the urging of his friend and business associate Lou Adler, Davis attended the Monterey Pop Festival.[ citation needed ] He immediately signed Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Columbia went on to sign Laura Nyro, The Electric Flag, Santana, The Chambers Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Loggins & Messina, Aerosmith and Pink Floyd (for rights to release their material outside of Europe). The company, which had previously avoided rock music (its few rock acts prior to the Davis presidency included Dion DiMucci, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, and Paul Revere and the Raiders), doubled its market share in three years.

One of the most commercially successful recordings released during Davis' tenure at Columbia was Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden," in late 1970. It was Davis who insisted "Rose Garden" be the country singer's next single release. The song reached No.1 in 16 countries around the world and remained the biggest selling album by a female country artist for 27 years.

In 1972, Davis signed Earth, Wind & Fire to Columbia Records. One of his most recognized accomplishments was signing the Boston group Aerosmith to Columbia Records in the early 1970s at New York City's Max's Kansas City. The accomplishment was mentioned in the 1979 Aerosmith song "No Surprize", where Steven Tyler sings, "Old Clive Davis said he's surely gonna make you a star, just the way you are." [12] Starting on December 30, 1978, [13] Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead occasionally changed the lyrics of the Dead standard "Jack Straw" in concert from "we used to play for silver, now we play for life," to "we used to play for acid, now we play for Clive." [14] One of the last bands Davis tried to sign to Columbia Records was the proto-punk band Death. [15] According to their documentary he was the only person who was interested in a black band doing rock music, but he asked them to change their name. They refused, as the name was a reflection of a personal event. The contract dissolved, and the band released their album on another label 35 years later.

Arista years

After Davis was fired from CBS Records for allegedly using company funds to bankroll his son's bar mitzvah, [16] [17] [18] Columbia Pictures (at the time unrelated to Columbia Records) hired him to be a consultant for the company's record and music operations. After taking time out to write his memoirs, he founded the company Arista Records (named after New York City's secondary school honor society, of which he was a member, and replacing Columbia Pictures's Bell Records label).

At Arista, Davis signed Barry Manilow, followed by Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Patti Smith, Westlife, Al Jourgensen, The Outlaws, Eric Carmen, Exposé, Taylor Dayne, Ace of Base, The Right Profile, Air Supply, Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio, and Alicia Keys, and he brought Carly Simon, Grateful Dead, The Kinks, Jermaine Stewart, Gil Scott-Heron (on whose episode of TV One's Unsung Davis was interviewed) and Lou Reed to the label. He founded Arista Nashville which became the home to Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Pam Tillis, and Brad Paisley. Davis founded LaFace Records with L.A. Reid and Babyface. LaFace subsequently became the home of TLC, Usher, Outkast, Pink and Toni Braxton. He founded Bad Boy Records with Sean "Puffy" Combs and it became the home of the Notorious B.I.G., Combs, Mase, 112, and Faith Evans, although Davis would later admit that he never quite understood rap music. In 1998, Davis signed LFO from European Success. LFO charted #3 with "Summer Girls" in 1999, and went on to multiplatinum success.

Davis was made aware of Cissy Houston's daughter Whitney Houston after he saw the Houstons perform at a New York City nightclub. Impressed with what he heard, Davis signed her to Arista. Houston became one of the biggest selling artists in music history under the guidance of Davis at Arista. [19]

J Records, RCA, Sony years

Davis left Arista in 2000 and started J Records, an independent label with financial backing from Arista parent Bertelsmann Music Group, named with the middle initial of Davis and his four children. [20] BMG would buy a majority stake in J Records in 2002, and Davis would become president and CEO of the larger RCA Music Group.

Davis' continued success in breaking new artists was recognised by the music industry A&R site HitQuarters when the executive was named "world's No.1 A&R of 2001" based on worldwide chart data for that year. [21]

In 2004, BMG merged with Sony Music Entertainment to form Sony BMG. With the assets of the former CBS Records (renamed Sony Music Entertainment in 1991) now under Sony's ownership, the joint venture would mean a return of sorts for Davis to his former employer. Davis remained with RCA Label Group until 2008, when he was named chief creative officer for Sony BMG.

Davis was elevated to Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment, [22] a title he currently holds, as part of a corporate restructuring when Sony BMG became Sony Music Entertainment in late 2008 when BMG sold its shares to Sony. [3] Arista Records and J Records, which were both founded by Davis, were dissolved in October 2011 through the restructuring of RCA Records. All artists under those labels were moved to RCA Records. [23]

Awards and honors

As a producer, Davis has won four Grammy Awards.

Davis also received the Grammy Trustees Award in 2000 [24] and the President's Merit Award at the 2009 Grammys. [25] In 2011, the 200-seat theater at the Grammy Museum was named the "Clive Davis Theater". [26]

In 2000, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performers category. [27]

In 2015, he was recognized by Equality Forum as one of the 31 Icons of the LGBT History Month. [28]

Davis was a 2018 Honoree at the The New Jewish Home's Eight Over Eighty Gala.

An alumnus of New York University, Davis is a significant benefactor to it. The recorded music division of its Tisch School of the Arts, is named after him: the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Personal life

Davis has been married and divorced twice. He was married to Helen Cohen from 1956 to 1965 and to Janet Adelberg from 1965 to 1985. He has four children: Fred (born 1960), Lauren (born 1962), Mitchell (born 1970), and Doug Davis (born 1974), a music executive and sports agent. He also has seven grandchildren. [29]

In 2013, Davis publicly came out as bisexual in his autobiography The Soundtrack of My Life. On the daytime talk show Katie , he told host Katie Couric that he hoped his coming out would lead to "greater understanding" of bisexuality. [30]

Further reading

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. "Clive Davis page at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".
  2. "Q&A: Tony Orlando talks the Beatles, Elvis, and Meghan Trainor". vancouversun.com. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. 1 2 Lauria, Peter (October 10, 2008). "Sony Music turns to Davis for Hit$". New York Post . NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved December 4, 2009.
  4. Gottlieb, Robert (June 20, 2013). "At the Top of Pop". The New York Times Book Review . Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Hollander, Jason (Fall 2011). "The Man With the Platinum Ears" (PDF). NYU Alumni Magazine. pp. 33–36.
  6. Davis, Clive (2013). The Soundtrack of My Life. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 13–14. ISBN   9781476714790.
  7. "Clive Davis: Pop music's elder statesman". CBS News. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  8. Dannen, Frederic (1990). Hit Men. Times Books. pp. 66-67. ISBN   0-8129-1658-1
  9. "Billboard". Books.google.com. August 7, 1965. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  10. "Billboard". Books.google.com. June 18, 1966. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  11. Knopper, Steve. "Tony Orlando still hasn't needed that backup career option, despite his mother's advice". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  12. "Aerosmith Biography: From Clive Davis to Guitar Hero: Aerosmith". Max's Kansas City. September 26, 2008. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
  13. "Grateful Dead Live at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA on 1978-12-30: Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  14. "Jack Straw" . Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  15. Bliss, Abi (2009-02-09). "Death: The Detroit band that never sold out". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  16. "Clive Davis: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  17. "Changes Made in CBS Guard". Billboard . June 18, 1966. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  18. "Let CBS Tell Its Own Ugly Story". The New York Times News Service. June 22, 1973. Retrieved August 23, 2012. Beginning what may be the second most massive cover-up of the past months, CBS fired its records division president, Clive Davis ...
  19. "Recording Industry Association of America". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on December 8, 2006. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  20. Segal, David (March 16, 2001). "The Man with the Golden Ear". The Washington Post.
  21. "CLIVE DAVIS WINS WORLD TOP 100 A&R OF 2001". HitQuarters. January 5, 2002. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  22. Moody, Nekesa Mumbi (April 18, 2008). "Clive Davis replaced by Barry Weiss as BMG head". USAToday.com . Gannett Co. Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  23. "RCA's Peter Edge, Tom Corson on the Shuttering of Jive, J and Arista". Billboard. October 7, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  24. Basham, David (December 12, 2000). "Beach Boys, Bennett, Who To Win Lifetime Achievement Grammys". MTV.
  25. Gundersen, Edna (February 4, 2009). "The official label on Clive Davis' famed gala this year: Grammy". USA Today.
  26. Chmielewski, Dawn C. (February 13, 2013). "CBS stokes Grammy Awards excitement with online extras". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.[ permanent dead link ]
  27. Morgan, Laura (March 9, 2000). "Hall Monitor". Entertainment Weekly.
  28. Malcolm Lazin (August 20, 2015). "Op-ed: Here Are the 31 Icons of 2015's Gay History Month". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  29. "Clive Davis - Clive Davis' Grandkids Unaware About His Bisexuality". Contactmusic.com. February 19, 2013.
  30. "Clive Davis Comes Out of the Closet on 'Katie'". The Hollywood Reporter. February 18, 2013.
Business positions
Preceded by
Goddard Lieberson
President of CBS Records
1966–1973
Succeeded by
Goddard Lieberson
Preceded by
first
Founder & President of Arista Records
1974–2000
Succeeded by
Antonio "L.A." Reid
Preceded by
first
Founder & Chief Executive Officer of J Records
2000 to April 2004
Succeeded by
none (J Records began functioning under the RCA Music Group)
Preceded by
first
Chief Executive Officer of RCA Music Group
2002 to April 2008
Succeeded by
Barry Weiss (RCA/Jive Label Group)
Preceded by
first
Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment
April 2008-present
Succeeded by
incumbent