Clive Jay Davis (born April 4, 1932) is an American record producer, A&R executive, and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer.
From 1967 to 1973, Davis was the president of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975 through 2000 until founding J Records. From 2002 until April 2008, Davis was the chair and CEO of the RCA Music Group (which included RCA Records, J Records and Arista Records), chair and CEO of J Records, and chair and CEO of BMG North America.
Davis is credited with hiring a young recording artist, Tony Orlando, for Columbia in 1967. He has signed many artists that achieved superstar status, including Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Loggins & Messina, Ace Of Base, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, and Westlife. Davis is also credited with bringing Whitney Houston and Barry Manilow to prominence.
As of 2018, Davis is the chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment.
Early life and education
Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family, the son of Herman and Florence Davis. His father was an electrician and salesman. Davis was raised in the middle-class neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
His mother died at age 47, and his father died the following year when Davis was only a teenager, leaving him an orphan with no money. He then moved in with his married sister in Bayside, Queens, New York City, New York. He attended New York University College of Arts and Science, where he graduated magna cum laude, with a degree in Political science and Phi Beta Kappa in 1953. He received a full scholarship to Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Student Advisers and graduated in 1956.