Book Review: Clive

Clive is a book about Clive Davis and how Don Silver interacted with him during his time trying to get a job at Arista as well as when he was working A&R for Clive at Arista.  It is fun to read about Don’s struggle with trying to get in to the business, ultimately getting in and then realizing that it really wasn’t for him and leaving the label.  He talks about how he wrote letters and made tons of phone calls to try and get an in, and finally got his big break when Clive decided he’d see him.  He told him to find songs for his artists and eventually was hired.  Then he sat in his office and had to listen to demos to try and find which artists to sign and which artists to send a letter to that they weren’t interested.

The book is short, only 75 or so pages, but it is a nice inside look at the recording industry and how it worked in the early 80s. I can only imagine how these things work in the present day.  Definitely a fascinating look at Clive Davis as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review

About the Book

At twenty-one, after years playing in a band, Don Silver filled his briefcase with overblown resumes and headed to New York City, where he landed a job every musician dreamed of: working as an A&R man for Clive Davis.  The problem was, the year was 1981 and the charts were topped by disco records. And to Don’s horror, Clive seemed more interested in making hit singles that would make the cash register jingle than in finding great artists making important music.

In two years, Don went from wanting nothing more than to please his temperamental boss to wanting nothing to do with the world this talented narcissist ruled.  But is it that easy to give up the perks and power?  Filled with the same love of language and lyricism that made his first novel, Backward-Facing Man, a critical success, this short literary memoir is not just a portrait of a great record man, but a riff on life, ambition and music that will touch readers hearts and souls, just like great rock ‘n roll.

Category: Book Review
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