Music mogul Clive Davis is so beloved, one of his premiere stars Aretha Franklin, complaining of upper respiratory problems, came out in full vocal force to celebrate him at Radio City Music Hall for the opening of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. What a night! First the screening of the documentary, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives, a glorious film directed by Chris Perkel tracing Clive’s genius career, first seeing Janis Joplin at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and signing her up at CBS, which prior to that auspicious recognition of rock and roll as art, was dominated by the sing along sound of Mitch Miller.
Through success and scandal, Brooklyn-born Clive Davis comes off as modest, even humble, his passion for music an unpredictable gift. After he was unfairly ousted from CBS, and disbarred, in the midst of a new business rise, he studied for the bar exam, and passed. It was that important to him to bring the karma around. The death of Whitney Houston was as devastating for him as his loss of parents when he was in college, he said, but he soldiered on, as she would have wanted, with his legendary pre-Grammy party.