No one has ever finished this book, not unless they were paid to do so, because the last two thirds is UNREADABLE!
Think I’m on a vendetta? Then peruse the review in yesterday’s “New York Times”:
How come the message didn’t get out? How come no one has said reading this book is like listening to your grandpa tell his life story? Even worse, every little detail. Sure, you want to hear about the old country, and the journey therefrom, but when he starts talking about stuff you know about, and don’t care about, then your eyes roll into the back of your head. You suddenly have to pee, you need to go outside, you need to ESCAPE!
“The Soundtrack of My Life” was riveting up until he got fired from CBS. Because those acts changed the world. As for Barry Manilow and Ace of Base, do we really need the gory details?
But let’s go back to said firing. Clive was completely innocent. Just like the who’s who of record biz folk he lists as upstanding citizens. That was too much for me to take. That’s like saying Eliot Spitzer doesn’t exist, that “Hit Men” wasn’t written, that payola never happened and the music business is one big happy playground, hey, let’s go on the slide!
That’s wrong. The music biz is full of crooks. Play it straight and you have a hard time surviving. But if there was ever blame to be taken, ever fault, ever illicit activity, Clive was not there. He didn’t know Milli Vanilli couldn’t sing, he didn’t know what happened to TLC’s money, he was too busy taking credit to be guilty.
This ain’t a book, it’s a recounting of every facet of Clive’s career. I mean every single band that ever had some action. It would be like hearing about every date you ever went on, EVER! Think that gets old?
Then again, Clive’s not an author.
What’s wrong with our country that everybody thinks they can do everything? Just because he can run a record company, and interspersed amongst the endless choppy stories is some good advice, that does not mean he can write a book.
Want to know a dirty little secret? Pay attention here, because this is gold, SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOT TO LEAVE THE BEST STUFF OUT!
In service of the story.
There is no story in Clive’s book. Just an endless rehashing of his life. That ain’t a book, that’s a document to be placed on the shelf of a museum, for scholars to study.
But Clive got a deal with Simon & Schuster, snookered the mainstream press to hype it without reading it, and most people just don’t care, and those who purchased the book ended up with a doorstop.
I’m still a hundred pages from the end. It’s sheer torture. Every time there’s a new chapter, I put it down. But I wanted to get to the end so I could speak authoritatively.
I’ll get there, but…
The main point of Clive’s book is father knows best. He’s got the experience, he knows the game, and if you don’t play it his way, you’re screwed. From Melissa Manchester to Curtis Stigers, she or he who wouldn’t do it Clive’s way never reached their potential… HOW COME THIS DOESN’T APPLY TO CLIVE?
A book should have a story, an arc, it should be a fun read.
An endless recounting of your life is not a story.
Kind of like Arista music. That’s the true problem here. If Clive had signed Guns N’ Roses, that would be interesting. Then again, he did make a deal with Puffy for Biggie, and the legendary rapper gets less space than Deborah Cox. You remember Deborah Cox, right?
As for statistics, Clive keeps talking about chart positions of Arista records that I can’t even remember. How’s that for legacy?
And long into Arista’s existence he complains that they had to find new hits, because they had no catalog. After decades? Isn’t that your problem, that you signed stuff with the shelf life of a cookie?
Mr. Davis is old and rich. I have no desire to personally bring him down. What I mean by that is if he wants to live in his illusory world, that’s fine by me. Let him be Chauncey Gardiner.
But as for the rest of the public… Can we stop this myth that he’s the man with the golden ears, that he’s somehow better than us?
He’s a record executive. He had some hits.
But his real skill is self-mythologizing.
But the myth won’t last, certainly not based on this book, because it’s so damn bad.
Clive goes on about albums needing multiple singles. Remaking foreign LPs so the acts would have careers. Where was that thinking here?
And the only interesting thing from the Arista years is the Whitney Houston excerpt. If he were smart, and hip, and insightful, all the things he claims to be, he would have sold this chapter as a Kindle Single for $2.99. THAT people are interested in, not this hagiography.
But Clive doesn’t want money. He’s not like the other Clive, Clive Calder, who had the biggest score in the history of the music business and then disappeared, POOF! (Then again, Clive says he had the same deal… Then why isn’t he so damn rich!) No, Clive wants the fame, the glory, and this book ain’t gonna help his cause a single bit. Because it’s no damn good and in today’s era you grow from the ground up and Clive is still living in the twentieth century, when you whip the mainstream media into a frenzy, figuring the heat will rain down on the populace and you’ll end up with success. But that paradigm is toast. Just like Clive.