Today’s Song Lyric Sunday challenge, hosted by Jim Adams, is ‘Clive Davis Day’ and we are to find any song that he has produced. On this day of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, what a perfect time to be looking at the most amazing talent and insight of one of the record industry’s most revered record producers. Davis has been the force behind jump-starting many of the most famous recording artists. (See below). It should be an easy task to find an artist and song that he has produced. My choice is Alicia Keys for the artist and her song ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. A personal favorite of mine.
If you have not yet seen “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” on Netflix, I encourage you to watch it. His life story and his industry achievements have been quite extraordinary.
This song was written by Alicia Keys after learning that 22-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah had died in a plane crash in The Bahamas on August 25, 2001. The tragedy inspired this tune; Keys later recalled: “The song idea came together right after Aaliyah passed away. It was such a sad time and no one wanted to believe it. It just made everything crystal clear to me – what matters, and what doesn’t.”
Performers on American Idol, The Voice and other such TV music talent shows have covered the song on countless occasions. Keys reflected to Entertainment Weekly in 2012: ”I have heard a lot of people cover this song. I think that’s actually the biggest compliment for a writer and for an artist, but especially for a writer. It showcases a big range and a powerful emotion, and I never think about it until it’s time to be on tour, and then I’m like, ‘S—! What did I do?’ [Laughs] You gotta make it through two hours, and I’m not lip-synching, so it’s serious.”
Keys won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for this song at the 2005 Grammy Awards.
Courtesy of Songfacts
Clive Jay Davis (born April 4, 1932) is an American record producer, A&R executive, music industry executive, and lawyer. He has won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer, in 2000.
As the record industry’s most innovative, outspoken and influential executive, Clive Davis has had a profound effect on the world of music, acting as both its champion and its critic, and as perhaps its most visible and respected spokesman. Clive Davis’ contributions to music are, to a large extent, responsible for bringing the industry to where it is in the new millennium.
In the first phase of his career, Davis was General Counsel of Columbia Records and was appointed Vice President and General Manager in 1966. In 1967 he was named President of the company. The Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967 confirmed what Davis had been feeling about rock: the new music was a powerful force, the artistic expression of an emerging culture. He personally signed Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and The Holding Company to Columbia. After that, he was directly responsible for the signing of many more landmark artists in the rock field, among them Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Santana, Boz Scaggs, Loggins & Messina, Laura Nyro, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and Earth, Wind and Fire. In addition to bringing this fresh, brand new talent to Columbia, he signed such artists as Neil Diamond, Pink Floyd, Herbie Hancock and The Isley Brothers.
While building the rock roster, Davis was also strengthening the label’s catalog in all fields of recorded music, achieving historic success in the areas of r&b, country, jazz and pop music. He played a key role in the careers of Simon & Garfunkel, Sly & The Family Stone, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Andy Williams. Davis figured prominently in shaping career turning points for Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and he signed Weather Report. Under his aegis, the company made a strong entry into r&b. Davis’ deal with Gamble & Huff brought to the company the famed Philadelphia-International label, which had an enormous string of hits and set the course for black music in the ’70s.
Davis left Columbia Records in May 1973 and, after writing the book, Clive: Inside The Record Business, a national best-seller in both hard cover and paperback, he founded with Columbia Pictures, Arista Records in the fall of 1974. The Arista Records hot streak began immediately. Only three months after the company opened its doors Barry Manilow’s smash hit “Mandy”, found by and named by Davis, went straight to #1.
Under Davis’ leadership, Arista launched the careers of Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Kenny G, Sarah McLachlan, Monica and Dido. The label also attracted such important artists as Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead, The Kinks, Lou Reed, Eurythmics, Dionne Warwick, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and Carly Simon.
Arista’s Nashville division, begun in 1988, quickly became the talk of the industry with the discovery of a stellar lineup of stars led by Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis and Brad Paisley. With over 150 major industry awards Arista Nashville set the pace for country music.
Analogous to his agreement with Gamble & Huff in the seventies, Davis made his agreement with L.A. Reid and Babyface to form LaFace Records in October 1989. During this time, LaFace built an outstanding roster of hitmaking artists including TLC, Toni Braxton, Usher, OutKast, and Pink.
In 1994, Davis and producer/entrepreneur Sean “Puffy” Combs entered into a 50/50 joint venture that resulted in the creation of Bad Boy Records with an artist roster that grew to include Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Mase, 112 and of course Puffy Combs. Along with LaFace Records, Bad Boy became the most successful Hip-Hop and Rap label of the ’90s, with a shelf full of Grammy, “Soul Train” and other industry awards. Bad Boy amassed sales of more than 12 million albums in its first three years, including five RIAA platinum and multi-platinum titles and ten RIAA gold.
Throughout the Nineties, Arista staked its place in music history time and time again. Specifically, superstars such as Whitney Houston, Santana, Monica, Sarah McLachlan and Deborah Cox broke records with their long-running chart-topping positions. In fact, Arista carved its niche as the only record label in the Soundscan era (whose tracking began in May 1991) to occupy the top three spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 at one time. This occurred for a five-week period in 1995, when TLC’s “Waterfalls” held strong at #1, while Monica’s “Don’t Take It Personal” and “One More Chance” by Notorious B.I.G. alternated at the second and third position. Arista later staked its claim to the top three positions on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart in February, 1999 with “Heartbreak Hotel” by Whitney Houston, “Angel Of Mine” by Monica and “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” by Deborah Cox (which stayed at #1 for a history-making 14 weeks). All three singles were executive produced by Clive Davis.
The 9x Grammy winning album, Supernatural, sold over 26 million copies worldwide, produced the #1 hits “Smooth” and “Maria Maria” (#1 record on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles for 12 weeks), marked the reunion of Carlos Santana and Clive Davis and the two accepted, as producers, the Grammy for Best Album of The Year.
Also, in 2000, Clive Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the only non-performer along with other legends such as Eric Clapton, Earth, Wind & Fire and James Taylor. Almost simultaneously, it was announced that the celebrated Arista chief would be the recipient of the Trustees Lifetime Achievement award by NARAS at the Grammy Awards
The landmark year continued when NBC Television broadcast a two hour primetime special saluting Arista Records and Clive Davis entitled “25 Years Of #1 Hits: Arista Records Anniversary Celebration” featuring performances by Santana, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Puff Daddy, Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan, Alan Jackson, Barry Manilow, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny G, Patti Smith, Monica, and many others. This once-in-a-lifetime concert special benefited AmFAR, City Of Hope, and T.J. Martell Foundation.
In August 2000, Clive Davis began a new phase in his career, announcing the formation of J Records. The label quickly became the buzz of the industry with platinum success story after success story, beginning with Alicia Keys whose debut album Songs In A Minor sold over 10 million copies and swept the Grammys. Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys debuted at #1 and has since sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
J Records has emerged as a dominant music force with chart topping albums by Maroon 5 whose debut album sold over 10 million copies worldwide, Annie Lennox, Luther Vandross and Rod Stewart, whose five Great American Songbook Volumes returned him to the top of the charts selling over 18 million copies worldwide, with all five volumes being co-produced by Davis.
Continue reading at clivedavis.com
Some people live for the fortune Some people live just for the fame Some people live for the power, yeah Some people live just to play the game Some people think that the physical things define what's within And I've been there before, and that life's a bore So full of the superficial Some people want it all But I don't want nothing at all If it ain't you baby If I ain't got you baby Some people want diamond rings Some just want everything But everything means nothing If I ain't got you, yeah Some people search for a fountain That promises forever young Some people need three dozen roses And that's the only way to prove you love them Hand me the world on a silver platter And what good would it be With no one to share, with no one who truly cares for me Some people want it all But I don't want nothing at all If it ain't you baby If I ain't got you baby Some people want diamond rings Some just want everything But everything means nothing If I ain't got you Some people want it all But I don't want nothing at all If it ain't you baby If I ain't got you baby Some people want diamond rings Some just want everything But everything means nothing If I ain't got you, yeah If I ain't got you with me baby So nothing in this whole wide world don't mean a thing If I ain't got you with me baby Written by Alicia Keys
Great song choice. I’ve recently gone back to Alicia Keys after many years of not listening to her music. Thanks for the reminder.
I’m happy you liked it. She is my favorite current artist. ☺️
Beautiful song Christine and a lot of interesting information on Clive.
Thanks Jim. Yes, I love this song. ☺️
This is one of my all time favourite songs! A great choice christine! xo
Thank you Carol anne ☺️💕