Clive Davis Documentary to Open Tribeca Film Fest

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Clive Davis

Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a documentary film surveying the career of the record executive who helped make stars of everyone from Janis Joplin to Whitney Houston, will open the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on April 19.

Among other accomplishments, Clive Davis, as president of Columbia Records, signed Aerosmith in the 1970s, launched Arista Records—home of everyone from Patti Smith to the Grateful Dead—and founded Bad Boy Records alongside Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Davis has also played a major role in bringing to stardom Barry Manilow, Laura Nyro, Pink Floyd, Chicago, Carly Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sly and the Family Stone and Santana.

The premiere will be followed by a special concert featuring performances by Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind & Fire and many more. The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 19-30. Tickets are available here.

Related: The Janis Joplin documentary, Little Girl Blue

Based on Davis’ 2013 bestselling autobiography, the film chronicles Davis’ influence since his emergence in the 1960s. Directed by Chris Perkel, the film is produced by Michael Bernstein of Scott Free Productions, with Ridley Scott and Mary Lisio executive producing alongside IM Global’s Stuart Ford, David Schulhof, and Deborah Zipser. Leading independent film and television studio IM Global provided financing for the film.

One of the hundreds of hit albums piloted by Clive Davis throughout his career

The film is described in a press release as “an inspiring story of courage, resilience, talent and an unwavering commitment to excellence. These qualities drove Davis—a child of early twentieth-century working-class Brooklyn who lost both parents as a teenager—to full academic scholarships to NYU and Harvard Law School and a brief but impactful stint as a white-shoe lawyer. His unrelenting drive to be the best and a twist of fate led Davis to assume the presidency of Columbia Records at just 35 years of age. It was only after the discovery of Janis Joplin at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Santana and Aerosmith shortly thereafter, that it became dramatically evident that he had a previously unexplored natural gift that would command a career that has created the soundtrack for three generations of American culture.”

The film, the press release continues, “examines how Davis rocketed to the top of the bare-knuckles music industry, repeatedly building major record labels (Columbia, Arista, J), at times becoming the subject of great controversy while overcoming enormous professional and personal challenges and tragedies.”

Davis has signed, influenced and driven the careers of many of the most important classic rock acts of the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to those already mentioned, these include: Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel, The Kinks, Dionne Warwick and Rod Stewart. Many of these artists are interviewed in the film.

Watch Clive Davis tell David Letterman about signing the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin

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