Star-Maker Clive Davis' Favorite Music Books
Think of a mega-star from the past 40 years of popular music, and odds are, producer Clive Davis had a hand in propelling them to fame. Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, Carlos Santana, Lou Reed, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and many more attained stardom through pop hits shaped by Davis. Now 80, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still the chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, and he's written a memoir that recounts his journey: "The Soundtrack of My Life."
Released Tuesday, the book has already caused a stir--Davis is now admitting he's bisexual and has been in relationships with men for the last 20 years--but, headline-grabbing revelations aside, at heart Davis is a music man. Here, he tells Bookish about his favorite books that reveal how great music gets made--from Keith Richards' "fascinating picture of sex, drugs and rock and roll" to Stephen Sondheim's innovations in musical theater.
Plus, listen to Davis read from the introduction to the audiobook and discuss his remarkable life.
This wonderful poetic exploration of two great young artists [Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe] richly deserved its National Book Award. Reading of their early life together is very touching and you have to be moved by the beautiful, unconventional love story.
On two separate levels this book is compelling. One is a riveting window into the creative process of the great innovator of the American musical theater and it's coupled with a highly opinionated, very personal assessment of the great and near-great lyricists of the 20th century.
The great music critic of The New Yorker delivers a penetrating survey of the most influential composers and music makers of the 20th century. It's incredibly insightful as to the links between the great music of the 20th century and the culture that produced it. Schoenberg, Bernstein, Sibelius, Coltrane and the Beatles--they're all here in a sweeping and dramatic narrative.
This is a gorgeous coffee table book on Columbia Records as it celebrates its 125th Anniversary. It's a very informative, beautifully assembled history of the venerable record company. The book also details the technological evolution of the LP to the arrival of the mp3.
Clive Davis is the Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music. He has worked with innumerable musical stars and media personalities. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he attended New York University and Harvard Law School.