Book Review: Twisting by the Pool

Rock & roll summer reading

Twisting by the Pool

The Soundtrack of My Life

by Clive Davis with Anthony DeCurtis
Simon & Schuster, 608 pp., $30

An extraordinarily successful music mogul, Clive Davis' single greatest triumph remains Whitney Houston. Rightfully, he spends a lengthy chapter discussing his interactions with the late R&B singer, noting his discovery and her resulting success. Beyond that, The Soundtrack of My Life is less autobiography than a chronicle of Davis' five decades running the music business. When he finally gets to Houston mid-book, his tales seem repetitive. What should be the most exciting part of his story ends up as lackluster as the majority of what he recalls. Taking the reader through helmsmanship of Columbia, Arista, and J Records, as well as his work with Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Alicia Keys, and American Idol winners, Davis' recollections rarely jump off the page, while his claims of influence on Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Patti Smith come across as self-aggrandizement. Though some of his youth gets aired, it isn't until the final chapter that Davis lets down his guard to discuss his personal life. That's something he does with a vigor that would've been welcome throughout the book.

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Clive Davis, Columbia Records, Arista Records, J Records

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