90-year-old Clive Davis on signing some of the biggest names in the music business: “I do know when I hear a hit song”


In his early decades, Clive Davis was never drawn to new music. He commenced his occupation as a law firm.  

“I was plucked out of a legislation business to turn out to be chief lawyer for Columbia Documents 3 a long time out of regulation faculty. I did that for 5 years,” Davis advised “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King. 

He was soon manufactured to be head of Columbia Data with no education in new music. Davis mentioned he by no means thought he would have a “musical ear” but he is credited to be one of the greatest hit-makers—signing some of the most important names in the small business, which includes Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Billy Joel, and Earth Wind and Fire. 

Davis celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this month. The star-studded function provided an impromptu efficiency by Alicia Keys, one of his most thriving artists.  

Artists like David Foster stated the key to Davis’s achievement is mutual regard.

“He’s entirely artist-helpful and the artist normally will come first,” Foster explained.

“He is an inspiration to anyone in the audio small business, and most of all to me,” Manilow included. 

Now, singers turn out to be well-known rapidly on social media mainly because their songs goes viral. Davis said that this helps make it more difficult to discover talent. 

“It would be more durable due to the fact ideal now there is no Bob Dylan, there’s no Bruce Springsteen. Ideal now there’s no Aretha Franklin,” he said.  

Even with decades in the company, Davis stated he can not explain what a hit one appears like, he just knows when he hears it. 

“I do know when I listen to a strike track. And so Simon and Garfunkel, [I’ll] under no circumstances overlook that when they performed me ‘Bridge Above Troubled Water,’ I said, ‘That has gotta be the first single,'” he recalled. “I felt it was so traditional and it still to this day is my favourite music.” 


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