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In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last fifty years of popular music as only a true insider can.In the history of popular music, no one looms as large as Clive Davis. His career has spanned more than forty years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last fifty years of popular music as only a true insider can.In the history of popular music, no one looms as large as Clive Davis. His career has spanned more than forty years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Aretha Franklin, to name a few. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and hosted the world’s highest profile parties. In this fully illustrated, personal account, Davis tells all, from becoming an orphan in high school and getting through college and law school on scholarships, to being falsely accused of embezzlement and starting up his own record company, J Records. His wealth of experience offers valuable insight into the evolution of the music business over the past half-century and into the future. Told with Davis’s unmatched wit, frankness, and style, The Soundtrack of My Life exposes a trove of never-before-heard stories—some hilarious, others tragic, all revealing—that will captivate and inspire all music lovers.


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In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last fifty years of popular music as only a true insider can.In the history of popular music, no one looms as large as Clive Davis. His career has spanned more than forty years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last fifty years of popular music as only a true insider can.In the history of popular music, no one looms as large as Clive Davis. His career has spanned more than forty years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Aretha Franklin, to name a few. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and hosted the world’s highest profile parties. In this fully illustrated, personal account, Davis tells all, from becoming an orphan in high school and getting through college and law school on scholarships, to being falsely accused of embezzlement and starting up his own record company, J Records. His wealth of experience offers valuable insight into the evolution of the music business over the past half-century and into the future. Told with Davis’s unmatched wit, frankness, and style, The Soundtrack of My Life exposes a trove of never-before-heard stories—some hilarious, others tragic, all revealing—that will captivate and inspire all music lovers.

30 review for The Soundtrack of My Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jkhickel

    I really admire Clive Davis, and wanted to love this book. But sadly, the book descends into a mind-numbing repetitive pattern throughout its densely-packed 500+ pages: (1) "X, who are very talented musicians, made a lot of money because they did what I told them to do." (2) "Y, who are also very talented musicians, failed to make a lot of money because they refused to do what I told them to do." If you're looking for colorful anecdotes about the many interesting musicians and artists that Davis w I really admire Clive Davis, and wanted to love this book. But sadly, the book descends into a mind-numbing repetitive pattern throughout its densely-packed 500+ pages: (1) "X, who are very talented musicians, made a lot of money because they did what I told them to do." (2) "Y, who are also very talented musicians, failed to make a lot of money because they refused to do what I told them to do." If you're looking for colorful anecdotes about the many interesting musicians and artists that Davis worked with over the past decades -- trust me, they aren't here. And if you're looking for tips on how to be the next Clive Davis, forget it. The career lessons that I managed to pull out of this book tended to be general business bromides: Do what you love, stick with your gut feelings, work hard, reward loyalty, and try to get along well with others. This is Davis's second book. My fingers are crossed that maybe the third time will be the charm.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    When I began reading, I thought this would be a 4 star or better, but as I continued, my early enthusiasm declined. I did like the book and thought much of the info was interesting. Overall the text began to bore me a bit. Reading his memories reminded me of those stars who accepted a Grammy or Oscar as they stood before the audience and tried to thank every last person who was involved in their project. Don't let that discourage you from reading the book, because despite the sometimes dry prose When I began reading, I thought this would be a 4 star or better, but as I continued, my early enthusiasm declined. I did like the book and thought much of the info was interesting. Overall the text began to bore me a bit. Reading his memories reminded me of those stars who accepted a Grammy or Oscar as they stood before the audience and tried to thank every last person who was involved in their project. Don't let that discourage you from reading the book, because despite the sometimes dry prose, it was good and interesting. One has to, in my opinion, admire the work ethic and drive Clive possessed. He was so lucky to have a great job that he very much enjoyed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I wish the editor of this book had told Clive to "stop telling and start showing". This book had me aching for stories instead of facts and sales numbers. There was very little dialog or direct quotes from anyone. Instead, all chapters (after Clive's childhood years) are the same format: Clive first heard about artist X from John/Jane Doe and was blown away by the music. Then...contract details...then a list of each hit song, sales figures and awards won. Three or four chapters like that are inte I wish the editor of this book had told Clive to "stop telling and start showing". This book had me aching for stories instead of facts and sales numbers. There was very little dialog or direct quotes from anyone. Instead, all chapters (after Clive's childhood years) are the same format: Clive first heard about artist X from John/Jane Doe and was blown away by the music. Then...contract details...then a list of each hit song, sales figures and awards won. Three or four chapters like that are interesting, the next three are a little tiring, but another 25+ chapters with that same format and you start skipping paragraphs. That's not to say I didn't like the book. I did. I just wish I got to know all his artists the same way I got to know Aretha and Carlos Santana (two artists that he quotes directly, and therefore allows you to 'get to know' a bit better.) Oh, and there is one awesome/hilarious quote from Janis that Clive shares, that will make you love her even more. (or, if you're easily offended, maybe not). I do believe that Clive has some golden ears, and his suggestions have turned hundreds of "OK" songs into major hits, thereby shaping American music for the past 50 years. And he's certainly had a fascinating career. I'm glad I read this book but I wish it was filled with more funny, shocking or insightful stories, instead of basic facts.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hicks

    There's a story in the Clive Davis memoir that goes like this: Barry Manilow thought of himself as a singer-songwriter. He didn't want to record any outside music. But I didn't hear a huge smash hit on his second album, and his first album hadn't sold so great. So I talked him into recording this great song I'd found, "Mandy," which I'd renamed from its original title, "Brandy." I had Manilow record it at the tempo I wanted, in the key I wanted, then I got every radio station in the world to play There's a story in the Clive Davis memoir that goes like this: Barry Manilow thought of himself as a singer-songwriter. He didn't want to record any outside music. But I didn't hear a huge smash hit on his second album, and his first album hadn't sold so great. So I talked him into recording this great song I'd found, "Mandy," which I'd renamed from its original title, "Brandy." I had Manilow record it at the tempo I wanted, in the key I wanted, then I got every radio station in the world to play it. "Mandy" shot to #1 on the Hot 100 and stayed there for half a year, and Manilow's album went octuple platinum. I sent Manilow a solid-gold bracelet with encrusted diamonds spelling out the words "I told you so." And there's another story in the Clive Davis memoir that goes like this: Taylor Dayne's first two albums produced eight Top 10 pop singles and sold platinum. I handpicked all eight of the songs from outside writers because I knew they'd be smash hits. When it came time to record her third album, Taylor resisted my song suggestions. She wanted to be taken seriously as an artist. She wanted to write her own stuff. I told her, "Look at Whitney Houston. We've taken her to the top of the Hot 100 eleven times now, and she can't even write her name on a piece of paper. But she's got plenty of respect and Grammies and a shitload of money. But okay, have it your way, let's see what you've got." And guess what -- Taylor Dayne's third album sucked. It destroyed her career. I personally signed a check for her royalties as songwriter. The check was for $108. In the memo spot, I wrote, "I told you so." There are a dozen different versions of each of the above stories in The Soundtrack of My Life . Kelly Clarkson's judgment especially takes a beating toward the back third, and it's obvious that Davis's recollections are egotistical, rosy and one-sided. But I couldn't help myself -- I read this book compulsively, with a big smile on my face, for like three weeks straight. Clive Davis, who published this book at age 81, is one of the three most prominent record executives of the rock era. His head for the business aspect is admirable, but his passion for the music itself is what attracted me as a reader. It makes me a whole lot less cool, but I get excited by well-crafted pop music; the older I get, the more I love mainstream shit. Davis perfectly captures, again and again, that feeling when you first hear a brand new pop song that's an absolute sure thing. Parts of the first act were a little tedious, but I jumped in at the mid '90s (Ace of Base wouldn't listen to me or do what I said. Years later, I found out they were Swedish and didn't understand a single word out of my mouth.) and worked my way back through time after I got to the book's end. I got so into the know-it-all formula of the executive guiding the path of household-name superstars that I went straight to Tommy Mottola's Hitmaker after reading this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    When I first picked up the book at my local library and saw the size, I was like Geeze, I am going to need more than 3 weeks for this one; it's soooo big! Regardless, I started to read the book and the pages flew by!! I'm going to put myself out on a limb and refute the negative reviews I read on this site. Seems like some people thought this book should have been a 'tell-all'. If Mr Davis is the professional that he is, it would never be such a book. ,y recommendation for those folks is to go pi When I first picked up the book at my local library and saw the size, I was like Geeze, I am going to need more than 3 weeks for this one; it's soooo big! Regardless, I started to read the book and the pages flew by!! I'm going to put myself out on a limb and refute the negative reviews I read on this site. Seems like some people thought this book should have been a 'tell-all'. If Mr Davis is the professional that he is, it would never be such a book. ,y recommendation for those folks is to go pick up a copy of National Enquirer as that is more your level of reading. Others felt that he was full of ego...well, too bad! If you had the amazing career this man has had, and made the kind of impact that he did on music, you would gloat a little (very little) too. I think those type of comments were out of jealousy of some sort. I found the book was the soundtrack of MY life, and enjoyed seeing the record industry from his point of view. There was only one chapter I skipped (on hip hop, ironically for someone living in Atlanta) as I am just so not interested in that style. Other than that my only criticism is that I would have liked to see the story told in more of a straight line. He seemed to go back and forth a little in time, and I found that confusing. Also Steve Ferrera names was spelled two different ways Ferrara and Ferrera and I got confused over the character. If you really are into ,USC from more than a superficial commercial standing, you will enjoy this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    This book started out great. I enjoyed learning about his childhood in the 50's and how he felt after his parents deaths. I liked the personal stories and I wish there were integrated more throughout the book. He fell into a pattern of telling the reader story after story about the great artists he found and how successful they became. I wanted to know more stories about artist who were fantastic but were not a commercial success. I also wanted more about his life as he moved from decade to deca This book started out great. I enjoyed learning about his childhood in the 50's and how he felt after his parents deaths. I liked the personal stories and I wish there were integrated more throughout the book. He fell into a pattern of telling the reader story after story about the great artists he found and how successful they became. I wanted to know more stories about artist who were fantastic but were not a commercial success. I also wanted more about his life as he moved from decade to decade. Near the end of the book he disclosed that he is bisexual and told a very brief story about how he came to realize that about himself. I wanted more of that with the music. This book could have been better.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adam Shafer

    Clive Davis is the man responsible for Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” and Santana’s “Smooth,” the two most grating and overplayed singles of the ‘90s. I should’ve known his autobiography would play out the same way. There’s nothing in any of the 500 pages of this book you couldn’t just imagine yourself. In fact, your imagination would be more interesting. The first tenth of this stupid thing consists of Davis’ upbringing and personal life and then almost nothing else outside of music is menti Clive Davis is the man responsible for Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” and Santana’s “Smooth,” the two most grating and overplayed singles of the ‘90s. I should’ve known his autobiography would play out the same way. There’s nothing in any of the 500 pages of this book you couldn’t just imagine yourself. In fact, your imagination would be more interesting. The first tenth of this stupid thing consists of Davis’ upbringing and personal life and then almost nothing else outside of music is mentioned until the final eight pages. Otherwise, it’s just a relentless tallying of record sales and Grammy nominations. It’s baffling that someone with such an amazing life would tell such a boring version of it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alretha Thomas

    I feel like I've been thoroughly schooled on the music industry. This was a very fascinating read with indepth stories captivatingly told by Clive Davis about some of the biggest names in the music industry. The book also chronicles Clive's journey from his humble beginnings to becoming one of the most powerful and sought after excecutives in the music industry. It's amazing what Clive has done and the lives he has impacted. He can truly say his life hasn't been in vain. I also appreciate how he I feel like I've been thoroughly schooled on the music industry. This was a very fascinating read with indepth stories captivatingly told by Clive Davis about some of the biggest names in the music industry. The book also chronicles Clive's journey from his humble beginnings to becoming one of the most powerful and sought after excecutives in the music industry. It's amazing what Clive has done and the lives he has impacted. He can truly say his life hasn't been in vain. I also appreciate how he tells the good along with the bad, letting us know that he hasn't been perfect in his decisions and choices. Overall this is a wonderful read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Peifer

    What happens when the world's most boring guy has one of the world's coolest jobs? There was a chance this could have worked, but it really doesn't. If you are a fan of unintentional humor, he is also the whitest person on the planet, so the chapters on rappers are especially hilarious. And the 'revelation' of his personal life is the most disingenuous thing you will read this year; he is fooling nobody but himself. What happens when the world's most boring guy has one of the world's coolest jobs? There was a chance this could have worked, but it really doesn't. If you are a fan of unintentional humor, he is also the whitest person on the planet, so the chapters on rappers are especially hilarious. And the 'revelation' of his personal life is the most disingenuous thing you will read this year; he is fooling nobody but himself.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Eldredge

    I heard a great interview on Saturday. http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/20... What an amazing book! I couldn't put it down. I love music and have so many of the records talked about in this book. It was nice he mentioned Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss and many others in the recording industry. I heard a great interview on Saturday. http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/20... What an amazing book! I couldn't put it down. I love music and have so many of the records talked about in this book. It was nice he mentioned Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss and many others in the recording industry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This is a trek through much of the history of rock and roll with this instrumental man and all the acts he influenced. His journey and knowledge of music helped to bring their artistic skills to the market for our benefit. Its especially wonderful and important for us music affascinatos. 7 of 10 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hope Caldwell

    Mr. Davis has a healthy ego, and that shines through in his book. If you can put that aside, though, it is very interesting to get a glimpse into the business and read some stories about iconic artists like Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Santana and many more. Very readable and some great stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    Extremely engrossing history of one of the all time great record company minds. The sheer amount of careers that Clive Davis helped to make and the 100s of millions of albums sold that he had a hand in are remarkable to read about. He clearly had a good ear for hits and a good sense of a potential super star (when paired with the right material). Some other readers seemed put off by his repeated attempts to prevent singers from shooting themselves in the foot. Yes, there are a series of "I told Extremely engrossing history of one of the all time great record company minds. The sheer amount of careers that Clive Davis helped to make and the 100s of millions of albums sold that he had a hand in are remarkable to read about. He clearly had a good ear for hits and a good sense of a potential super star (when paired with the right material). Some other readers seemed put off by his repeated attempts to prevent singers from shooting themselves in the foot. Yes, there are a series of "I told you so" stories, but he recounts them because they are all true. He even calls attention to the fact that the pattern repeated itself many many times. Recording star is given a-list material by outside writers and becomes a super star, follow up album flops after same recording star insists on writing all the songs themselves, over the objection of Clive and others. Even if you think his telling of these many stories is self-congratulatory, it doesn't make them any less true. I think even more remarkable was his ability to revive the careers of artists who had been all but forgotten by the record buying public. Whatever magic formula Clive was working with, it did the job. He managed to match artist with material better than anyone. I would have given this book four stars, but I am knocking it down one simply because it seems like it needs another round or two of editing. There are anecdotes that are repeated just a mere 10 or 12 pages after they are told the first time. There are also jumps in time that are a little too jarring and probably could have been smoothed out. For fans of music, and fans of inside baseball when it comes to the music industry, Clive is the man. Read this book and enjoy it, despite some of its flaws in craft.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kimberlie Perry

    I was curious about Clive Davis so I decided to read the autobiography. Now I would like to read a biography written by someone who could find out what other people thought about the life of the omnipresent person who has had a hand in American music from the 50's to current day. No wonder that Clive feels like the luckiest guy alive to have gotten into a line of business that he seemed to be tailor made for. I just wonder what other people from the same time felt. I would give this book 5 stars I was curious about Clive Davis so I decided to read the autobiography. Now I would like to read a biography written by someone who could find out what other people thought about the life of the omnipresent person who has had a hand in American music from the 50's to current day. No wonder that Clive feels like the luckiest guy alive to have gotten into a line of business that he seemed to be tailor made for. I just wonder what other people from the same time felt. I would give this book 5 stars for being a complete documentation of Clive's 60 years in the business but found the self congratulatory tone of this work to be wearing at times. I found it helpful to take a break and read other material. I was reading the biographies of Paul Simon and David Bowie at the time and found that where the roads converged the stories were compatible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ursula Johnson

    The Man with the Golden Touch This was a fascinating account of the life of a music legend. Clive Davis has worked with nearly everyone who's anyone in music. Many favorites are here from the early 60s through now. Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfinkel, Santsna , Aretha Franklin, Kelly Clarkson, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Maroon 5 and more. His amazing story, trained in law, but loved music is covered here. Many great stories and recollections enhance and delight the reader, listener. The The Man with the Golden Touch This was a fascinating account of the life of a music legend. Clive Davis has worked with nearly everyone who's anyone in music. Many favorites are here from the early 60s through now. Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfinkel, Santsna , Aretha Franklin, Kelly Clarkson, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Maroon 5 and more. His amazing story, trained in law, but loved music is covered here. Many great stories and recollections enhance and delight the reader, listener. The audio book features several sections read by the author. A fantastic and fascinating look at how the industry works and how special the right people are in an artist's career. A wonderful book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Mixed feelings about this autobiography of Davis' career in the music industry. No doubt he is a titan and has worked with nearly everyone who is anyone over the past five decades and more. Davis is a bright, articulate man and has had a remarkable life and great success. I just found the book to be, albeit readable, quite repetitive (it's a huge tome at 500+ pages) and his healthy ego shone through on every page, which eventually became a bit much for me to take. The personal reveal at the end Mixed feelings about this autobiography of Davis' career in the music industry. No doubt he is a titan and has worked with nearly everyone who is anyone over the past five decades and more. Davis is a bright, articulate man and has had a remarkable life and great success. I just found the book to be, albeit readable, quite repetitive (it's a huge tome at 500+ pages) and his healthy ego shone through on every page, which eventually became a bit much for me to take. The personal reveal at the end of the book felt jarring given that nearly the entire book focused on his career and business accomplishments. Picked this up to read after watching a terrific documentary on his career ... I should have just stuck with the doc, which was very well done.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Reading this made me realize that while I have read biographies, I either have not read any autobiographies, or none that I remember. One I realized that I shouldn’t be turned off by the tone, I moved on. However, there are still some stiff passages and it starts to feel repetitive and a little narrow minded. And then the end - it kind of explodes into a big reveal of highly personal information after hundred of pages of mainly professional stories, which felt jarring. However, if you’re a music Reading this made me realize that while I have read biographies, I either have not read any autobiographies, or none that I remember. One I realized that I shouldn’t be turned off by the tone, I moved on. However, there are still some stiff passages and it starts to feel repetitive and a little narrow minded. And then the end - it kind of explodes into a big reveal of highly personal information after hundred of pages of mainly professional stories, which felt jarring. However, if you’re a music geek, worth the read for a behind the scenes look at a true hit making and music biz legend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Talya

    If you want an insider glimpse into the music industry and what it took to succeed in the business in the last 40 years this is a great read. I myself, did not have much background info on the multitudes of superstars described in this book, so it was a good introduction for me. I liked how the book spanned nearly half a century and covered multiple genres. I am amazed how this man was instrumental in so many careers!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Flood

    This book from Clive Davis covers so much music history, from every taste in music. Possibly the most detailed account in music history by someone who made it happen; without Clive Davis, you probably wouldn't have heard much of the music you know and love. Highly recommended reading. This book from Clive Davis covers so much music history, from every taste in music. Possibly the most detailed account in music history by someone who made it happen; without Clive Davis, you probably wouldn't have heard much of the music you know and love. Highly recommended reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joey Sharpe

    Engrossing and detailed view of the music business, then and now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Shelton

    A great tour through 20th century musical history!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Typical autobiography. Me. Me. Me. Interesting to relive the storied career, but too long and too factual. Too distant from the talent he’s worked with.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christina Bent

    I wish the soundtrack of my life could be similar to this man. What a fascinating life story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    An amazing career and life story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Dacey

    A business mans ( lawyer ) view of the music industry and how to make money, from a man who knows how. Many anecdotes on the A level people he has worked with Over the years. An interesting read

  26. 4 out of 5

    W. Frazier

    Whew. What fun. This extensive autobiography of Clive Davis takes the reader through an impressive portfolio of successful artists and their hits, spanning some 50 years. From Janis Joplin to Carlos Santana to Barry Manilow to Whitney Houston to Alicia Keys, Davis’ stable of artists is eclectic and plentiful. This is an incredible book on music history, but also a great reference for the business of music. The individual stories are fascinating. Yes, there are glimpses of ego in this long journe Whew. What fun. This extensive autobiography of Clive Davis takes the reader through an impressive portfolio of successful artists and their hits, spanning some 50 years. From Janis Joplin to Carlos Santana to Barry Manilow to Whitney Houston to Alicia Keys, Davis’ stable of artists is eclectic and plentiful. This is an incredible book on music history, but also a great reference for the business of music. The individual stories are fascinating. Yes, there are glimpses of ego in this long journey, but Davis has surely earned his cred. The audio book narrator, Anthony DeCurtis, is exceptional.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura Bower

    A MUST HAVE for any music fan! You get an inside look and personal stories on legends in music. From Janis Joplin to Whitney Houston. This is a captivating read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Smith

    This book was more regressive than the music industry bios I usually enjoy, like those about Walter Yetnikoff or the Hit Men book. Davis is so reserved for most of the book that it's hard to tell when he's reaching an exalted peak of passion and when something is a side note. Honestly, he may not know himself. His views on women are regressive - every female artist is evaluated in terms of her talent and beauty, while even the softest of boy bands merit nary a passing comment on their looks (or This book was more regressive than the music industry bios I usually enjoy, like those about Walter Yetnikoff or the Hit Men book. Davis is so reserved for most of the book that it's hard to tell when he's reaching an exalted peak of passion and when something is a side note. Honestly, he may not know himself. His views on women are regressive - every female artist is evaluated in terms of her talent and beauty, while even the softest of boy bands merit nary a passing comment on their looks (or the source of their screaming female fans). He happily writes about the artists he talked out of writing their own material so that they could have bigger hit records as if that were a source of pride. Sales and platinum records mean more, okay? His brief examination of his own sexuality was the most humanizing part of the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Just Janet

    My initial reaction to Clive Davis' book was that he had a huge ego concerning his part in the success of his many artists: Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow and on and on. However,after understanding/learning more about his role as their mentor and producer, I would say that he was a key ingredient in their success. He is the salt on a wonderful steak or vanilla in a cake. You don't detect it's presence but you know something is wrong if it is not there. My initial reaction to Clive Davis' book was that he had a huge ego concerning his part in the success of his many artists: Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow and on and on. However,after understanding/learning more about his role as their mentor and producer, I would say that he was a key ingredient in their success. He is the salt on a wonderful steak or vanilla in a cake. You don't detect it's presence but you know something is wrong if it is not there. Talent is not enough to having a successful musical career. Some artists understand his talent and let him lead the way(Whitney. Others are too young to know that they are messing with the Godfather(kelly Clarkson) and succumb to their emotions and their youth instead of knowing that this is business. Cissy Houston encouraged her young daughter to sign with Clive's record company because she knew that he would give her the direction and advice needed to steer through the complicated and fickle waters of producing, selling and marketing records. There are plenty of artists who wish that their one-hit wonders were springboards to other hits. The hard task is to sustain that momentum through strategy,skill and a little luck. That's what Clive does so effortlessly--like a duck in water. You don't know how hard they are moving underneath the surface because the good ones make it look effortless. Kelly Clarkson did not not understand Clive's role in her career. Her ego, not Clive's, was bloated with the infamy that is American Idol. But Clive was right. American Idol is a popularity contest and an artist needs more that that to create a career both in the States and in the international market. The book takes awhile to get through because I would look up the artist on youtube to play that song or listen to that artist. I've been humming Barry Manilow songs for a month now. Yes, the book was tedious at times with all of the mergers/acquisitions and love letters to his artists and staff. Yes, it needed a little more editing. I forgive you Clive for needing all 551 pages to tell your story and wonder what was was left out. I find myself quoting from this book often. Who wouldn't want to take advice from a man who is successful? Even Puffy would schedule time to just shadow this man and to sit at his elbow and learn what and how he tackles his daily highs and lows. I won't make that mistake like Ms. Clarkson. Congratulations to Mr. Davis on a fantastic book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This is a difficult review to write because I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. Mr. Davis is certainly intelligent and articulate, and his contributions to the world of music over several decades are quite impressive. The problem is that he's extremely impressed with himself and unrelentingly lets us know that. It's a shame, really, because he has worked with some of music's top names and has fascinating stories to share. His input has certainly helped launch many musicians to stardo This is a difficult review to write because I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. Mr. Davis is certainly intelligent and articulate, and his contributions to the world of music over several decades are quite impressive. The problem is that he's extremely impressed with himself and unrelentingly lets us know that. It's a shame, really, because he has worked with some of music's top names and has fascinating stories to share. His input has certainly helped launch many musicians to stardom and he has lived and continues to live an extraordinary life. But a bit of modesty would have gone a long way. In 500+ pages, it basically comes down to this: If a musician followed his advice, they advanced to stardom and if they didn't follow his advice, they didn't. That was just a bit too black and white for me, and the most glaring example of how his ego gets in the way of what could have been a really wonderful book. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it. The section about Whitney Houston provides some insight and personal stories and he gets off the repetitious merry-go-round of business-related info and number of albums sold that dominates so much of the book. Not that it isn't there - just that in that particular chapter he balances it out with more heart, which is sadly lacking much of the time in other chapters. I have admired Mr. Davis for a long time, and will continue to do so. And despite my criticisms, I do recommend reading "The Soundtrack of My Life" if only to learn more about the big names in music that he has worked with and the amazing career he has had.

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