E very Wednesday afternoon, for the past 40 years, Clive Davis has met with his scouts, accountants, marketers, producers and promoters to examine the status of each new record on his label. When the news is good, the people around the table — in the boardroom of his company, J Records — cheer. "It can be hard for members of the rock press like yourself," he tells me before the meeting. "All these people cheering for pop music, which, maybe, you don't take so seriously. But, you know, not everything has to be Dark Side of the Moon ." Buried in this complaint is Clive's philosophy: Whereas for a critic, a song should be a hit because it's beautiful, for Clive, among the greatest hitmakers of his era, the song is beautiful because it's a hit. There are no crappy records in the Top Ten — every hit is to be studied and admired. It does not matter if it's by Carlos Santana or Rod Stewart or Barry Manilow — every hit is akin to every other hit. So when the A&R man says Hurricane Chris is Number Three and rising, you cheer, even if you are a 75-year-old man who's been through this cycle — production,… Read full this story
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