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Long before Clive Davis, was known as the genius behind the recording careers of all the “American Idols”, he was already a legend!

I was skeptical when I heard a lawyer was taking over as head of Columbia records, until I met Clive Davis at Woodstock in 1969. Awash in the rain, the mud, and the good vibrations, I remember sharing a bottle of water with him and thinking how cool it was for the head of a record company to be out here “roughing it” with his artists!

The next time I saw him, it was at a Columbia record convention in Los Angeles, soon after Janis Joplin passed away. I knew that he and Janis had been close and mentioned that Allan Rinde, Michael Ochs and I had been with her at the Whiskey, a few nights before she died. Reverently, Clive asked me to join him in one of the conference rooms, where he played me an acetate, which he was going to introduce at the convention later that afternoon, “Me And Bobby McGee”by Janis…it was a moment I’ll always remember.

His personal taste in pop music of the sixties, and his signings at the label, put Columbia at the head of the pack. Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company, Laura Nyro, Electric Flag, Santana, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Pink Floyd were all top moneymakers.

I was a bit worried, however, when he took over as president of Bell records just before he changed it’s name to Arista. I was with Warner Brothers Music, and had a record recently released on Bell, that was starting to make a little noise. It was the first cover of a song I picked up at the Tokyo Music Festival, “Daydreamer” by David Cassidy. Clive, however, set my mind at ease when he didn’t let the record get lost during the companies transition. It ultimately went on to become David’s biggest hit selling over 5 million units world wide!As he went on to create an Empire at Arista, his formula was simple…it all starts with the song. I remember my old friend Scott English telling me that it was Clive Davis who suggested that he change the title of his song, “Brandy” ( which had been the title of a recent US hit), to “Mandy”, which became Barry Manilow’s and Arista’s first multi million seller!

Soon the label’s artist roster included, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Monica, Exposé, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox, saxophonist Kenny G, rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Sean “Diddy” Combs, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Air Supply, Ace of Base, TLC, Bay City Rollers, Nona Hendryx, and Patti Smith among others. It wasn’t long before he became CEO of the BMG music group in the U.S.

Clive Davis’ secret for finding winners is simple, “You look for stars. You look for the makeup of artists who can have long lasting careers and who could be headliners.”

He forgets to mention that it doesn’t hurt to have an incredible song sense and the power to promote the kind of music that you believe in…the kind of music that makes a difference all over the world!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne


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Since the early 60’s, Burt Bacharach has been one of the most innovative and influencial figures in popular music. His unique melodies and signature rythyms also made him one of the most imitated musicians of all times. With various lyricists, he racked up an early array of hits that included, “Tower Of Strength”, “Baby It’s You”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, “Any Day Now”, “Only Love Can Break A Heart”, “Blue On Blue”, “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and “Walk On By”.

I always felt a thrill just to be in his presence! I would see him at a party or a music business function and go over and introduce myself. This happened so often that after about the fifth or sixth time I did it, he stopped me, smiled and said, “I know…you’re Artie Wayne!” This not only made me feel good, but I felt validated!

He was not only a musical role model, but a personal one as well. He was probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever known, with his sunglasses on top of his premature white hair he always seemed to be dressed for a tennis game or a polo match! I also noticed all of the beautiful women that would fawn over him and it made me realize that you didn’t have to be a Rock Star to get that kind of attention!

In 1963, after I had my first hit as a songwriter and producer, “Meet Me At Midnight Mary” ( Raleigh/ Wayne) with Joey Powers, I called up Burt to see if he had any songs for the follow-up. I met him in his office at Famous music, in the Brill Building and he played me a new song he and Hal David had written, “Message To Martha” (which later became a smash in the UK by Adam Faith and a hit in the US by Dionne Warwick, re-titled, “Message To Michael”)

I loved the song, but I thought it was a bit too complex for Joey Power’s simple folk musical direction we were taking. I felt really weird turning down the song, but Burt was cool and said don’t worry about it. A few months later, I ran into him on my first trip to London, where he was the musical director on Marlena Dietrich’s concert tour, we had a drink and laughed about my embarrasment over turning down one of his songs.

The next time I saw him was in 1965, I was signed to Scepter records publishing company, as a songwriter and producer. I was encouraged to use the studio as often as I wanted for overdubbing and making demos of my songs to help break-in the studio. I produced or co-produced The Shirelles , The Kingsmen and the Guess Who, there which made the owner, Florence Greenberg, more confident in her new facility. At that point, she offered Burt Bacharach and Hal David, a chance to try her new, improved studio out.

I remember Burt and Hal had trouble mixing Dionne Warwick’s, “Are You There With Another Girl” at the original studio where they cut the track, and they decided to try out Scepter. I remember being in my office the day of the “Great New York City Blackout “…when the lights all over our building were dimming then getting brighter! Burt and Hal, after mixing for hours, ran out of the studio screaming, ” What the Hell’s going on ? We almost had it…We almost had the mix! Then machine started slowing down then stared speeding up!”

Tempers cooled, when we looked out the window and saw lights in the entire city dim…then go black! Florence’s son Stanley, who was head of A+R, as well as being totally blind from birth, yelled out, “Don’t worry, I’ll get us all out of here…JUST FOLLOW ME!”

About 20 of us, with Stanley leading the pack, managed to get down several flights of stairs, in total darkness, safely and without incident. It was an event that I’m sure none of us will never forget!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne