Clive Davis Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood And Early Life
American record producer Clive Davis was born on the 4 April 1932 in Brooklyn, New York to Florence and Herman Davis. When Davis was a teenager, both his parents died, and he was left without financial resources.
Clive Davis won a scholarship to New York University College of Arts and Science and graduated in 1953. He was then awarded another scholarship to Harvard Law School, graduating in 1956.
Rise To Fame
After getting his law degree from Harvard Law School, Clive Davis began practicing law in New York City when he joined Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petschek & Freund. In 1960 Davis was appointed assistant counsel at Columbia Records. By 1966 he had risen through the ranks to become general manager and administrative vice-president of Columbia Records. Then in 1967, he was appointed president of Columbia Records.
Around this time Davis offered a contract to the musician Donovan. Further signings included Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and The Grateful Dead. Due to a financial scandal at CBS, Davis left the company in 1974.
After he left CBS Records, Davis founded Arista Records. Artists he signed included Dionne Warwick, Patti Smith, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, the Bay City Rollers, the Kinks, Air Supply, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston. He also founded Arista Nashville (1988) and Bad Boy Records (1993).
In 2000 Davis resigned from Arista and his next venture was the independent label J Records. After BMG became the majority shareholder of J Records in 2002, Davis was appointed President and CEO of RCA Music Group. BMG merged with Sony Music Entertainment in 2004 to become Sony BMG. In 2008 Davis became the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment
Awards And Achievements
Clive Davis has won four Grammy Awards: 2000 Best Rock Album for Supernatural by Santana; 2000 Album of the Year for
Supernatural by Santana; Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson and Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson’s self-titled album. In 2000 he won the Recording Academy’s Grammy Trustees Award and in 2009 the President’s Merit Award. In 2000 he was inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame. The Clive Davis Theatre at the Grammy Museum is named in his honor.
He married Helen Cohen in 1956, and they divorced in 1965. The same year as his divorce he married Janet Adelberg, and they remained married until 1985. He has four children: Fred (b.1960), Lauren (b.1962), Mitchell (b.1970) and Doug (1974).
In 1975 he published a memoir, Clive: Inside the Record Business which he co-authored with James Willwerth.
In 1973 Clive Davis was involved in a financial scandal at CBS Records, and he was subsequently fired. He was later exonerated. Davis published his autobiography, The Soundtrack of My Life, in 2013.