Clive Davis in New York City on November 13, 2007
Clive Jay Davis
April 4, 1932
|Alma mater|| New York University |
Harvard Law School
|Occupation||Record producer, Music executive|
(m. 1956;div. 1965)
(m. 1965;div. 1985)
|Children||Four including Doug Davis|
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family,the son of Herman and Florence Davis. His father was an electrician and salesman. Davis was raised in the middle-class neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
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 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 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.He then moved in with his married sister in Bayside, Queens, New York City, New York. He attended New York University College of Arts and Science, where he graduated magna cum laude , with a degree in Political science 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.
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 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.
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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.
As part of a reorganization of Columbia Records Group, group president Goddard Lieberson appointed Davis as administrative vice president and general manager in 1965.In 1966, CBS formed the Columbia-CBS Group which reorganized CBS's recorded music operations into CBS Records with Davis heading the new unit. 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.
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."Starting on December 30, 1978, 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." One of the last bands Davis tried to sign to Columbia Records was the proto-punk band Death. 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.
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After Davis was fired from CBS Records for allegedly using company funds to bankroll his son's bar mitzvah,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.
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.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.
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,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. 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.
As a producer, Davis has won four Grammy Awards.
Davis also received the Grammy Trustees Award in 2000and the President's Merit Award at the 2009 Grammys. In 2011, the 200-seat theater at the Grammy Museum was named the "Clive Davis Theater".
In 2000, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performers category.
In 2015, he was recognized by Equality Forum as one of the 31 Icons of the LGBT History Month.
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.
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.
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.
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, afrobeat, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.
Jive Records was an American record label under the RCA Music Group formed in 1981 by Zomba Records. Formerly headquartered in New York City, the label was best known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and also in teen pop and boy bands during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic Records has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, The Yardbirds, Donovan, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, The Hollies, Celine Dion, ABBA, Culture Club, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.
Bertelsmann Music Group was a division of German media company Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on 1 October 2008. Although it was established in 1987, the music company was formed as RCA/Ariola International in 1984 as a joint venture to combine the music label activities of RCA Corporation's RCA Records division and Bertelsmann's Ariola Records and its associated labels which include Arista Records. It consisted of the BMG Music Publishing company, the world's third largest music publisher and the world's largest independent music publisher, and the 50% share of the joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment, which established the German American Sony BMG Music Entertainment from 2004 to 2008.
Barry Manilow is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, musician and producer with a career that has spanned more than 50 years. His hit recordings include "Could It Be Magic", "Mandy", "I Write the Songs" "Can't Smile Without You", and "Copacabana ".
Sony Music Entertainment (SME), known as Sony Music, is an American global music conglomerate owned by Sony and incorporated as a general partnership of Sony Music Holdings Inc. through Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese Sony Corporation. It was originally founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation and renamed as Columbia Recording Corporation in 1938, following its acquisition by the Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records, and Sony Corporation bought the company in 1988, renaming it under its current name in 1991. In 2004, Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture known as Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which transferred the businesses of Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group into one entity. However, in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake, and the company reverted to the SME name shortly after; the buyout allowed Sony to acquire all of BMG's labels, and led to the dissolution of BMG, which instead relaunched as BMG Rights Management.
Private Music was an American independent record label founded in 1984 by musician Peter Baumann as a "home for instrumental music". Baumann signed Ravi Shankar, Yanni, Suzanne Ciani, Andy Summers, Patrick O'Hearn, Leo Kottke, and his former bandmates, Tangerine Dream. The label specialized in New age music but made a sharp turn to the mainstream by signing Taj Mahal, Ringo Starr, Etta James, and A. J. Croce. Its albums were distributed by BMG, which bought Private Music in 1996.
Colgems Records was a record label that existed from 1966 to 1971.
Arista Nashville is an American record label that serves as a wholly owned division of Sony Music, operated under the Sony Music Nashville division. Founded in 1989, the label specializes in country music artists, including Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood. The label used to operate three sister labels: Career Records, Arista Austin, and Arista Latin. It is a subsidiary of Arista Records since Arista's relaunch in 2018, but during the dissolution, Arista Nashville was not affected and it remains a Sony Music label.
Pete Ganbarg is a Grammy Award winning music business executive who is currently President of A&R for Atlantic Records.
RCA/Jive Label Group was a short-lived American record label group, owned by Sony Music Entertainment and representing the merger of the RCA Music Group and Jive Label Group. The umbrella group was formed in 2007 under the name BMG Label Group, was rebranded as RCA/Jive Label Group in 2009. In July 2011 it was finally dissolved into two separate labels: the RCA Music Group and Epic Records which took Jive subsidiaries until October 2011 when it retired Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. The artists on those three labels were moved to RCA Records.
Barry Weiss is an American music executive and producer who is currently an executive with RECORDS, a label he co-founded. He got his start at Clive Calder's Jive Records before working his way up to the head of the RCA/Jive Label Group. While at Jive, Weiss fostered artists like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Chris Brown, Backstreet Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, and many others. He left the organization in 2011 to join the Universal Music Group prior to co-founding RECORDS in 2015.
Richard Palmese is an American music industry executive.
Peter Edge is an English American record executive. He is the chairman and CEO of RCA Records.
CBS Records International was the international arm of the Columbia Records unit of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS) that was formed in 1961 and launched in 1962. Previously Columbia Records had been using other record companies to distribute Columbia recordings outside North America, such as Philips Records and its subsidiary Fontana in Europe.
Tom Corson is an American record executive. He is the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records, a position he has held since January 2018. He was previously the president and chief operating officer of RCA Records.
Beginning what may be the second most massive cover-up of the past months, CBS fired its records division president, Clive Davis ...
| President of CBS Records |
| Founder & President of Arista Records |
Antonio "L.A." Reid
| Founder & Chief Executive Officer of J Records |
2000 to April 2004
none (J Records began functioning under the RCA Music Group)
| Chief Executive Officer of RCA Music Group |
2002 to April 2008
Barry Weiss (RCA/Jive Label Group)
| Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment |