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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "INSPIRING, CAPTIVATING, AND INTRIGUING!"
Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music, Clive Davis, and Anthony DeCurtis, who holds a Ph.D in American literature deliver a fascinating biography of a brilliant man who devoted forty years to the music industry. Clive Davis portrays the story of his life, a colorful memoir of where it all began, and what led him to success. A man who gave everything he strived for to make...
Published 23 months ago by Geraldine Ahearn

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much of a Good Thing, and Not Enough of Some Others
It's hard to write this review - the book is more or less enjoyable, and Clive Davis comes across as a highly intelligent man who, despite his great success and the great wealth it has brought him, is rather well grounded. He's clearly grateful for his "ears" and adoring of the talents of the many singers he's helped to make prominent and famous. And unlike other...
Published 3 months ago by Robert B. Lamm


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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "INSPIRING, CAPTIVATING, AND INTRIGUING!", February 19, 2013
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Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music, Clive Davis, and Anthony DeCurtis, who holds a Ph.D in American literature deliver a fascinating biography of a brilliant man who devoted forty years to the music industry. Clive Davis portrays the story of his life, a colorful memoir of where it all began, and what led him to success. A man who gave everything he strived for to make his own dreams a reality, while working side-by-side with countless artists. In addition, Clive Davis tells the amazing stories never before revealed through the inside scenes of J Records in the evolution of the music business. This personal account of his life will make you smile, but will also tug at the heartstrings. As the music industry grew with recordings of popular music, Clive Davis worked closely with superstars, who became icons in music history. He is proud to tell of the special years as he helped Dionne Warwick, Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston, and many others. However, Clive Davis also tells about his struggles while growing up, his feelings as an orphan in high school, and what it took to get through college and law school. He describes his strengths as well as the obstacles that he endured as he began his own record company. His unique writing style, which is heartfelt and emotional, is also thought-provoking. This endearing memoir becomes more-and-more interesting as we read about his work with Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and other artists who climbed to the top of the charts. His experience through forty years of his career is valuable to the future success of the music industry. As the stars became icons, Clive Davis hosted the elite parties, while achieving his Lifetime Grammy award, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Motivating, insightful, and entertaining. Highly recommended!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of music business, June 16, 2013
I just finished the book today...I almost wish it were twice as long, I enjoyed about 90% of the book. This is my review and also a response to other criticisms.

1) name dropping - when you're a man of his stature and worked with countless people, of course your'e going to see more than a few names mentioned. It's part of the music industry. He pats himself on the back and criticizes himself.

2) He's basically kind to everyone in the book - there are some criticisms of a number of people in the book, they come across as constructive. It's not a sleazy or gossipy tell all book.

3) Parts of it are a bit "dry" but that's part of his biography. He's talking about the music business. As someone who teaches business (would love to have my students read this book!) there are many lessons in it.

4) He seems to be honest and objective about his personal life regarding his divorces and his upbringing. The man is self made. I find it amazing how someone raised in lower middle class Brooklyn became a lawyer and then ran several music businesses. Some readers think he's an egomaniac. I'm sure he has a good sized ego (he's entitled as he's had a lot of success). (Maybe those people that gave the book one star are jealous?) The man is over 80 and still very sharp.

5) He's a contemporary person, realizing what the trends are and how to harness them. He's well attuned to what's going on today with the American Idol generation as well as an understanding of the business of music - from the artistry to the production to the marketing. It is a business.

I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to know about the music industry over the past 50 years. I found it very entertaining, informative. I enjoy detail, others may wish to skim over it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, May 4, 2013
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If you like music read this book. Probably the greatest record executive of the past 40 years and he does a great job of telling the full story here. What will receive the most interest is the chapters on individual stars like Janis Joplin and primarily Whitney Houston. Davis does a great job discussing his influence without attempting to take all the credit. It was interesting to hear his discussions on artists that wanted to write songs after an initial album not recognizing his input song selection may have been the key.

I read this shortly after reading Tommy Matolla's autobiography and found this to be a great combination book. Tommy's book is shorter and a lighter read. This book is longer and much more involved. They are both exceptional!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read, May 5, 2013
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A good blend of personal experiences and meetings with renowned artists. Humorous and fast-paced. After reading it, I felt that I had been part of the life of an interesting and good man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much of a Good Thing, and Not Enough of Some Others, October 26, 2014
It's hard to write this review - the book is more or less enjoyable, and Clive Davis comes across as a highly intelligent man who, despite his great success and the great wealth it has brought him, is rather well grounded. He's clearly grateful for his "ears" and adoring of the talents of the many singers he's helped to make prominent and famous. And unlike other books of this type, he does not bring venom to his discussions of people with whom he doesn't get along or from whom he's become estranged; he lays out the facts as he sees them and tries to be fair and charitable to others' positions.

The problem with the book is that once you get roughly halfway through this very lengthy book (just over 550 pages, excluding the index), the stories begin to sound alike. "And then I met...", "The next stage of my life...", and so on. There is a sameness to all of his stories, whether they concern raging success or disappointing failure. So at the end of the day, I'd have preferred some more judicious editing that would have made each of the "tracks" of his "soundtrack" a bit more significant instead of blending together like one big tub of margarine.

SPOILER ALERT

I also found it a bit odd that in the last 10 pages of the book he suddenly brings up his separation from his second wife, who goes largely unmentioned for several hundred pages (the oddness stemming, in part, from the fact that he talks quite a bit about his upbringing and his first wife early in the book, making it seem as though his second wife was peripheral to his existence), and then talks about his discovery of his bisexuality. This is not a criticism of his biesexuality - it's just that if it's an important aspect of his later life, as he suggests, why deal with it as if it's an afterthought?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where Egos Dare..., March 14, 2014
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markus king "markus" (Winston-Salem, NC United States) - See all my reviews
Just finished reading and I don't know where to begin.

I wouldn't begrudge Clive Davis his place in pop music history, but wow, does this guy think he is the cat's meow.

First of all, Clive is not, and was not ever a proper musician who took part in the creative process. Unlike other legendary music moguls- for example, Jerry Wexler (who produced records) or Ahmet Ertegun (who wrote songs)- Clive's primary contribution to the music of our lives (told in long, drawn-out accounts in this book) seems to be vague suggestions for finishing touches on songs, editing (he tells us it was HIS edit of Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Piece of My Heart" that made Janis Joplin a star, lest we think that anyone else is responsible), decisions about lead-off singles, etc. He can claim propelling of two artists to big time stardom, Barry Manilow and Whitney Houston. Okay, and Kenny G.

Oh, and he has one songwriting credit in his entire career. On an Air Supply song.
That's about it.

So, being a businessman and not an artist, it's hard to enjoy some of his stories of "directing" and "making suggestions" to the artists under his Arista wing. He has this massive issue with artists writing their own songs. He is still clueless as to why Barry Manilow would have an issue recording a song he DIDN'T write called "I Write the Songs".
Hey, if it's a hit, who cares? Right? He complains about Melissa Manchester wanting to write her own songs and even mildly insults her songwriting abilities as he tries to transform her from an introspective, mellow artist into a generic dance diva. The sad thing about both of these issues is Manilow and Manchester are both well-respected songwriters with multiple classics to their credit. .

BUT, Clive wanted a hit, so suddenly Melissa is dancing and doing "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" on Solid Gold.

As for any other singer who dares state they want to write their own music, he browbeats them into submission (like how he triumphantly confesses that Whitney relented and agreed never to dare put pen to paper), and he scolds those who were too stubborn to listen to him (like Taylor Dayne- "oh, if only she had listened to me and didn't try to grow as an artist, we might be releasing a Greatest Hits Volume 2"!)

The one exception to the songwriting rule was Angela Bofill, whom Clive allowed to continue writing tracks for her albums, but the trade-off was that he pulled her away from the Jazz/R&B/Latin fusion that had won her fans on her GRP Records albums. He woos her with promises of pop stardom and signs her to Arista. She manages one bonafide Dance/R&B smash- "Too Tough", and a few smaller hits. Angela became "a Dance and R&B star", as Clive puts it, but he fails to say anything else, nothing about how she was pushed further and further down the dance diva path, with diminishing returns, until she was unceremoniously dumped from the label in 1986, as Whitney's star was rising.

He complains about Phyllis Hyman not wanting to record stuff he chose for her- he doesn't mention any other possible reason for their differences, but it's been written in other publications that it was much deeper than song choice. He thought it was a mistake for her to go on Broadway in Sophisticated Ladies, which would've denied her one of her biggest triumphs. Instead of singing the gorgeous love songs she excelled at, he thought she was better off singing garbage like the dance track "Riding the Tiger". Hey, it might be a hit, right?

Clive pats himself on the back for his other, lesser discoveries (regardless of his degree of involvement- Expose is a perfect example). He talks about Air Supply like he had discovered Simon and Garfunkel, and he dismisses criticism of their work because, they sold records and that's all that matters, right? He also pats himself on the back for changing some lyrics to one of their songs (I think it was "All Out of Love", but it might've been "The One That You Love". How much difference was there, anyway?) and now suddenly he's writing hits! Hits hits hits!

The Air Supply fawning came to mind late in the book when he discusses Maroon 5's rise to stardom. He objects that they are initially marketed as a Modern Rock band instead of pop. It is explained to him that they wanted the band to crossover from rock to pop without losing their credibility, but he can't comprehend why a rock band would be concerned about credibility, as long as they're having hits, right? This from the man that brought us Air Supply, folks.
He grumbles that they ended up leaving J Records and then went through a "long cool period" in their career before "Moves Like Jagger" (perhaps he overlooked the #1 smash "Makes Me Wonder", or maybe it just didn't fit into the narrative, so why not pretend it never happened?).

He loves rescuing past-their-prime stars like Dionne Warwick and Carlos Santana (oh, let's not forget the Santana comeback- Clive talks like he cured the common cold with that one), and he even threw poor Manilow a bone later on. Pray saints.

There's a final chapter which quickly discusses his private life and sneaks in the "oh yeah, I became gay in the 80's" as an afterthought. His personal life actually seemed much more interesting than hearing how he shot off long letters with lists of "suggestions" for the film The Bodyguard, because the film would've been a monumental flop were it not for his input.

Thank you Clive, I don't know how pop music could've stumbled through the last 4 decades without you. We are all eternally indebted.
At least that's the way it seems I should feel after reading your book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The early years are more interesting.., October 15, 2013
I read Clive's first book about 30 years ago, and found it fascinating; this book, while good, it's on the same level. Maybe it's the fact that the book is a bit repetitive after a while (here's a great drinking game - everytime Clive writes about his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, take a drink - you'll be drunk in no time). I really enjoyed the parts with Dylan, Janis Joplin, and the early years of Arista. In the later years, he just seems to list artists just because (hey, I don't really need to hear anything about "the Real McCoy", and neither do you). Clive saves his most venom for Kelly Clarkson, along with a few suits from BMG.

Unlike the Tommy Mottola book, which seems almost totally false, at least Clive admits mistakes and doesn't do a total whitewash, but the quotes seem awfully stunted and nothing like what anyone might have actually said. Still, it's a decent read - though a biography of Clive might be what we need in future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The highs & lows of Clive Davis' book, May 1, 2014
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The things Clive Davis has done in his career & life are amazing. The book has very interesting recounts of how his signing artists became stars. Mr. Davis has helped many favorites along their path to success. ~ And he NEVER lets you forget his part in each & every one of these stories. Clive Davis put too much of Clive Davis in his book. It reminded me of Oprah's book where her theme through-out it was her. For people who have done so much & who have become so intrinsically involved in news-worthy happenings, its unseemly that they seem to think they have to push themselves in your face.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, repetetive, meh, March 29, 2013
I bought the e-book for Nook for $16.99 because I love music and I thought that this would be a very interesting read. It's the opposite in my opinon. Clive repeats details of record executives who went from this company to that company, made this much money or that much money. If you want to know what record went Gold or Platinum, you may like the book because this information is repeated throughout the book. What we really wanted to know, Clive, was about your personal relationships with artists such as Bob Dylan, Barry Manilow, Whitney, Aretha and all the rest. Yes, you helped them record some great songs that really are the soundtracks of our lives, but surely you did more that say "record this song or that song". You can tell that Mr. Davis is a lawyer, not a musician. He's very much into status and how much money each artist made, not the true impact of their artistic contributions.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Borrrrrring, March 26, 2013
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Some reviewers say they couldn't put this book down. I couldn't pick it up. Never read a more boring self-serving book.
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