Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February 12, 2017. The CBS network will broadcast the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The most prestigious party associated with the event is the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala. The festivities take place tonight, Saturday, February, 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

This year’s guests will include Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr, Metallica, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, Michael Keaton, Jane Fonda, Nile Rogers, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Neil Young, Brian Grazer, Larry King, Andrea Day and Wiz Khalifa.

Clive Davis’s influence has been felt for 50 years in the music industry. He will be honored with a documentary, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives which opens the 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017. After the screening, an all-star music concert will take place featuring performances by Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind & Fire. (to name a few)

The documentary is based on Clive Davis’s 2013 bestselling autobiography:

I admire Clive Davis who was President of Columbia-CBS Group in the heyday (1967-1973) at Big Black Rock on 52nd Street in New York City. This was a significant period that expanded my rock music appreciation.

An early pop signing of his was the British folk-rock musician Donovan, who enjoyed a string of successful hit singles and albums released in the U.S. on the Epic Records label.

Clive Davis went on to further success by founding Arista Records in 1975 by signing Patti Smith, Barry Manilow, and after Whitney Houston.

He’s 84 and still a pivotal force in the recording industry as Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment.

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36th Annual John Lennon Tribute Honors Donovan

Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute joyously celebrates John Lennon’s life, music and timeless message of peace, love and social activism. It is the only ongoing John Lennon Tribute concert in North America or Europe officially sanctioned by Yoko Ono.

This year’s Tribute will feature folk-rock legend Donovan, who will be honored as the recipient of the 2016 John Lennon Real Love Award. Having accompanied the Beatles on their historic journey to India, Donovan will perform a special extended set dedicated to John Lennon, which will include Beatles songs and his own classics.

“I am delighted to be honored at this year’s ‘John Lennon Real Love Award.’ And I am amazed to say that John has written a song through me which I will sing at the Tribute with special guests. Please support Theatre Within and remember, PEACE BEGINS WITHIN.”  — Donovan

Beatles Fest – A Saturday Report

We live right off the Metro North train line in Connecticut. It was easy to hop the 9:38 a.m express and get into Grand Central Terminal at 11:15 a.m. The Grand Hyatt is right next door to GCT where we entered The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014.

We decided to attend the day in between the two major Beatles 50th Anniversary events, the Beatles Invasion February 7th and the Ed Sullivan broadcast on February 9th.

After we checked in we headed up to the main ballroom on the 4th floor. We watched the balance of the film, Good Ol Freda which was a special treat as Freda Kelly herself appeared after the film. She brought a tear to my eye as her role in The Beatles family is devout, private but very caring. You could see how much she loves the fans as she met with them at the autograph table.

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Our focus for this event was the music in the main ballroom. Granted there were floors of art exhibits, video, presentations by authors etc. But we got anchored to the concert floor. The event was oversold and many people had to stand which made for a fire law problem. This meant we had to pretty much stay in our seats all afternoon which grew uncomfortable over 6 hours.

The Ballroom Agenda

Mark RiveraKen Dashow

Ken Dashow interviewed Mark Rivera who has performed with three of the Beatles, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Mark is Ringo Starr’s Musical Director for the Ringo Starr All-Starr Show where we’ve seen Mark play three times this past decade. Mark Rivera is also a band member of Billy Joel‘s band. He has a new album coming out, Common Bond which drops on February 18th.

The album includes a rare appearance by Billy Joel playing a sizzling Hammond B3 organ on Mark’s unique cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Spanish Castle Magic. Ringo Starr, Robert Randolph, Nils Lofgren and Steve Lukather all give their great talents to what will be a most cool album!

It really rocks in a good old way – like we did back in the day. Your voice sounds great and the band kicks ass!”– Billy Joel

Gretsch Presents, Peter Asher, A Memoir of the 60’s and Beyond – Part 1

PeterA

We were pleasantly surprised by Peter Asher. He had a well-polished agenda for us. This speaks to his role as a producer. He interspersed his verbal talk which was filled with nostalgia about The Beatles with vintage video. He had a class back up band that increased the dimension of the Peter and Gordon songs. The Eric Idle introduction was funny. We especially loved the segment where Peter sang with Gordon behind him as they played. It was so comforting to hear them sing together that way with Gordon Waller having left us in 2010.

I was intrigued to learn that Peter and his sister Jane Asher had founded a book store and art gallery Indica in London where John Lennon met Yoko Ono at her art show.

Surprise Guest – Pattie Boyd – Martin Lewis

We were surprised by Pattie Boyd’s appearance. It was a warm, intimate 40 min conversation with Pattie and Martin Lewis where Pattie spoke about George Harrison, The Beatles in the day, the trip to India and her love of photography. I thought she was a delight and very honest interview subject.

Donovan

It was a joy to see Donovan perform. It had been 44 years since our last Donovan concert. This show was very immediate. We loved the magic he created for us. Donovan has always been a special artist in the music of our heart.

He was in good voice. I especially loved how he sounded phrasing wise especially on “Jennifer, Juniper”. I really dug with unique vocal sound he makes on “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. His one hour set went so quickly but he played all his hits which made it loving and lasting for us.

Donovan’s Set

  1. Catch the Wind
  2. Colours
  3. Universal Soldier
    (Buffy Sainte-Marie cover)
  4. Jennifer Juniper
  5. Lalena
  6. Wear Your Love Like Heaven
  7. Hurdy Gurdy Man
  8. Sunshine Superman
  9. Season of the Witch
  10. Mellow Yellow

   Encore

  1. Atlantis

Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Rock and Roll  Party

We were really happy to hang out with Cousin Brucie who has been a major force in our music listening lives. He has such energy and passion for what he does as an on-air personality. It was exciting to be part of his live SiriusXM broadcast. We often listen to his show on Sixties on 6.

We didn’t stay for the three-hour show as we were weary from the ballroom chairs. We figured we’d listen to the rebroadcast on Sunday night from 5-8 p.m. Which we are listening to that show now as I finish up that post 😉

I finally got to see Ronnie Spector live which was cool! Ronnie had some great stories about the boys and Murray The K. She then performed “Be My Baby”.

Donovan rejoined us next and paid Brucie a wonderful complement as a disk jockey. He performed “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and it was great to hear it twice in the same day!

Scan 3

Cousin Brucie, “We Love You!”

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The Fest for Beatles – Saturday February 8th, 2014

We just got home from the full Saturday event of The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014. There is so much to share with you about today’s event. I plan to write a comprehensive blog post tomorrow, once I can distill my notes and memories.

Until then please enjoy this photograph of Donovan The Troubadour performing “Hurdy Gurdy Man” in the main ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Donovan was magical!

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Donovan on The Howard Stern Show

Yesterday Donovan appeared on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Donovan is in New York City for the The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014, a 50th Anniversary celebration event (February 7-9). I wrote about Donovan’s appearance at this conclave on January 12th. This post is a follow-up to this weekend’s events.

Donovan was an affable guest for Howard Stern and his listening audience. Each celebrity had a surprise in store for the other. Howard Stern surprised Donovan with the news that he was being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Donovan knew he had been nominated, but did not know he was actually in the hall. The full announcement is not due until next Monday.

Donovan remarked “A light is shining on all my work. What more can I ask for?”

DonovanHS

For his birthday, Donovan presented Howard with the very first guitar in Gibson’s line of J-45’s, the same guitar Donovan wrote all his hits on. Here is a picture of Donovan performing on the original Gibson guitar.

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Donovan Appearing At The Fest for Beatles Fans

donovanWe love Donovan. We have waited patiently to see him live in concert near us. Donovan will be one of the special artists appearing at The Fest for Beatles Fans , an event I have blogged about recently. We are ticketed to attend this event. 🙂

The last time we saw Donovan live was November 12, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. It was our first big concert arena experience. There in the middle of the Garden floor sat Donovan. The stage he was perched cross-legged on slowly turned in a 360 degree fashion like a lazy susan.

Donovan’s Fest for Beatles Fans concert performances will occur in the ballrooms at the Grand Hyatt which will allow us a closer sound and visual experience.

I have listened to Donovan’s canon anticipating next month’s event. My favorite Donovan recording is Barabajagal. What’s yours?

The Real Donovan
The Real Donovan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Donovan and Atlantis, The Lost Continent

Atlantis, the Lost Continent
Atlantis, the Lost Continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have long held a fascination about the plausibility of the ancient culture known as Atlantis. Whether or not Atlantis ever existed has been the subject of two thousand years of debate.

Movie

My first awareness of Atlantic the lost civilization occurred when I was nine years old in 1961. I attended a Saturday matinee at The Palace Theater in South Norwalk, Ct. where I saw a entrancing film, Atlantis, the Lost ContinentThe famous producer/director George Pal created a spectacle adventure tale about the forces of evil that destroyed great Atlantis. The images of that movie, especially the end of Atlantis being claimed by the ocean stayed vividly in my mind for decades.

Song

My interest in the lost continent was reawakened when I heard Donovan‘s song in 1969, “Atlantis”  on his Barabajagl album.

Atlantis (song)
Atlantis (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Geographic Special Finding Atlantis

The long lost city of Atlantis is now said to be found in southern Spain. National Geographic claims that the city was destroyed in a tsunami thousands of years ago and resides now in the flat mud grounds of Donana. The researchers studied a site just above Cadiz where a photo of satellite showed a suspected submerged city which was surveyed with radar technology, satellite map and digital imagery during the period of 2009 and 2010.