The Schmooze

The Man Who Made the Soundtrack to Our Lives

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television lately without running into Clive Davis. He is promoting his memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life” a book that might just as easily be called “The Soundtrack of Your Life.” Yes, you.

Davis, 80, is a recording industry executive who helped start or enhance the careers of such hallowed artists as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Rod Stewart, among others.

His memoir is fascinating and has a big surprise that comes more than 500 pages in: He is bisexual. Davis quickly follows that with a less surprising reveal: His first long-term gay relationship — it lasted 13 years — was with a doctor.

“I obviously couldn’t escape the profession all Jews put on a pedestal,” he writes. Davis was born in Brooklyn. Both his parents died when he was a teenager, so he lived with his aunt and with his married sister, won full scholarships to New York University and Harvard Law, and then went out to look for work.

Davis spoke to The Arty Semite about his career, luck and growing up Jewish.

Curt Schleier: Despite your Harvard law degree and your work on the law review, you were turned down for a job at a white shoe firm because the interviewer thought you weren’t “right” for the job. So you landed at a smaller, Jewish firm.

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The Man Who Made the Soundtrack to Our Lives

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