In The Soundtrack of My Life, music legend Clive Davis recounts an extraordinary five-decade career in the music business, while also telling a remarkable personal story of triumphs, disappointments, and encounters with some of the greatest musical artists of our time, from Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys.
Orphaned and impoverished in his teens, Davis overcame early hardships, earning a full scholarship to New York University and then one to Harvard Law School. As general counsel at Columbia Records, Davis quickly distinguished himself and capitalized on a lucky break to catapult to the presidency of the company. More surprisingly, he was to learn he had “ears,” a rare ability to spot talent and create hit records. Those ears contributed to the fabled success of three companies—Columbia, Arista, and J—where Davis discovered and developed more unique artists than anyone in the history of the music industry.
What began on the grass at the Monterey Pop Festival with the signing of Janis Joplin has evolved into a lifelong passion and calling, spanning the years and genres, including rock, pop, R&B, country, jazz fusion, and hip-hop. Through it all, Davis has discovered a pantheon of all-time greats: Bruce Springsteen; Billy Joel; Aerosmith; Carlos Santana; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago; Earth, Wind and Fire; Barry Manilow; Patti Smith; Whitney Houston; Kenny G.; and Alicia Keys. In addition, he has championed and played a vital part in the careers of Simon and Garfunkel, Miles Davis, the Kinks, the Grateful Dead, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Annie Lennox, Carly Simon, Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Jennifer Hudson, and Rod Stewart. His is the imprimatur that has helped shape contemporary music and our popular culture for the past forty-five years.
The Soundtrack of My Life is an essential book for anyone interested in the story of popular music, the workings of the music business, the alchemy of hits, and the dramatic life of a brilliant leader . . . and listener.