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”

Otto Eovaldi


In his early decades, Clive Davis was hardly ever drawn to songs. He started his job as a lawyer.  

“I was plucked out of a law organization to become chief attorney for Columbia Data a few several years out of law school. I did that for 5 several years,” Davis advised “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King. 

He was shortly designed to be head of Columbia Information with no education in music. Davis stated he never ever assumed he would have a “musical ear” but he is credited to be 1 of the best hit-makers—signing some of the most significant names in the enterprise, which include Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Billy Joel, and Earth Wind and Hearth. 

Davis celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this month. The star-studded function involved an impromptu effectiveness by Alicia Keys, one particular of his most productive artists.  

Artists like David Foster explained the mystery to Davis’s results is mutual respect.

“He is absolutely artist-friendly and the artist constantly arrives 1st,” Foster claimed.

“He is an inspiration to absolutely everyone in the music business enterprise, and most of all to me,” Manilow additional. 

Now, singers develop into popular immediately on social media due to the fact their songs goes viral. Davis reported that this helps make it more durable to come across expertise. 

“It would be more difficult for the reason that proper now there’s no Bob Dylan, there is certainly no Bruce Springsteen. Correct now there is certainly no Aretha Franklin,” he explained.  

Inspite of decades in the company, Davis said he can not describe what a hit single seems like, he just is aware when he hears it. 

“I do know when I hear a strike song. And so Simon and Garfunkel, [I’ll] never forget that when they performed me ‘Bridge About Troubled Drinking water,’ I said, ‘That has gotta be the first one,'” he recalled. “I felt it was so traditional and it however to this working day is my beloved music.” 


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