Record producer Clive Davis did not just get a documentary celebrating his five decades in the music business. He also got a world-class show from some of the stars whose careers he promoted.
Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, Kenny G, Carly Simon and R&B band Earth Wind & Fire turned out to sing for Davis, 85, on the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday.
“Mr. Davis, for so many years it’s been a real pleasure. I am honored to have been an artist of his and to still be an artist of his,” Franklin said from the stage at Radio City Music Hall.
The documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” traces the Brooklyn-born producer’s journey from lawyer to the record division of CBS/Columbia in 1966, and how Janis Joplin became his first ever signing in 1967.
Davis has since signed or helped manage the careers of dozens of musicians ranging from Bruce Springsteen and Alicia Keys to Santana and Kelly Clarkson.
As part of the tribute, Oscar and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson performed a medley of the biggest hits of Whitney Houston – the protege who Davis discovered and mentored but ultimately could not save from premature death.
Houston drowned accidentally in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub in 2012 after years of drug abuse.
“I hate the word legend, but he is a legend and we are so happy to give him all the respect and to open the festival with his movie,” said Robert De Niro, who co-founded the festival in 2002.
(Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by G Crosse)