Clive Davis, BMG U.S. chairman and the man behind the American Idol recording machine, will be appearing on tonight’s show as special guest “coach” of the week. Davis, 74, will also receive a special honor for his role in guiding American Idol stars’ post-season careers on Wednesday night’s results show.
Davis hasn’t let the multiple generational gaps between him and the young Idol stars interfere with his ability to pump out a stunning 33 million records sold through the AI franchise via AI winners and runner-ups Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard, and Bo Bice.
Damn, that’s a lot of records for those knuckleheads.
Davis spent the past weekend continuing to age and working with current AI finalists Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, and the Silver Fox, Taylor Hicks, in preparation for tonight’s show. Davis went so far as to select songs for each of the finalists that would best suit their vocal ranges and accentuate their personal musical styles.
Recording industry legend Davis, dubbed “the man with the golden ears,” has honed those ears for about the last century as former head of Columbia Records and founder of Arista Records, discovering and guiding the careers of Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, Patti Smith, Barry Manilow, Alicia Keys, and the once great, now coked out, Whitney Houston.
A man of many professional lives, Davis was on the edge extinction due to the “retirement policy” at BMG several years ago; but, fueled by outrage across the recording industry, he refused to dry up and go away and struck a deal with BMG to launch J Records, of which he owns 50%.
J Records — the home of industry giants Pearl Jam, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, Annie Lenox, Dido, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Babyface, Jamie Foxx, Sarah McLachlan, Barry Manilow, and many up and coming artists — is not a bad place to be. And now Davis somehow also finds himself as chairman of BMG U.S.
As long as there’s pop music to be made, records to be sold, and air in his lungs, Clive Davis will be churning out hits.