Turning 100 in Hollywood: The Beverly Hills Hotel, Clive Davis' Home Away From Home
This story originally appeared in the April 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
Paramount, Universal, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Los Angeles Aqueduct are among the town's icons celebrating centennials, as legends from Clive Davis to Robert Towne share with THR their personal memories. In part one, Davis discusses his second home in LA.
Clive Davis on the Beverly Hills Hotel
The template for Hollywood's off-hours glamour was set with the opening of The Beverly Hills Hotel on May 12, 1912. Countless stars and moguls have camped out at the hotel's famous bungalows over the years, among them renowned 82-year-old music executive Clive Davis.
It's really been my home in Los Angeles since I became president of Columbia Records [in 1967]. The bungalows give you not only privacy but the opportunity to play music at any hour. Any other hotel, no matter how nice, you're always on the same floor with somebody. I play my music loud and frequently in the later hours. I keep my speakers here. I can come back from the studio and test things on nonstudio speakers. It means I've never had to get a home here in L.A., which is preferable. And if you've got a relationship with longevity at the hotel, they know exactly how you like your food. I like raisins and carrots in my cole slaw; they know I like dark-meat chicken and turkey. They manage to keep their employees for many years, so you have continuity, and it really becomes a home away from home.
Right from the beginning in the rock era, after Monterey, I had a cabana by the pool on weekends. [Atlantic Records'] Ahmet Ertegun had one on the other side. And we'd watch each other. If I had The Grateful Dead or Sly and the Family Stone, I'd watch him with Eric Clapton or The Rolling Stones. So that memory of the golden era of rock 'n' roll is here.
And my tradition of a pre-Grammy party started in its infancy here. I had the party here until about 10 years ago. We always kept it to the capacity of the ballroom, which is about 650. But one year, just as I was about to start the party, the fire marshal came and said we were over the limit. I realized that was a sign we'd have to move it. But for many, many years, the pre-Grammy party was here.
Another thing is the bungalow I'm often in has a piano, and they have a wonderful piano in the Rodeo room. Over the years, whether it's been bringing in composers to play songs for Aretha, or Whitney, we'd meet to go over material that I had gathered. Whitney would come from her bungalow at midnight.
For doing business and the wonderful memories, it's not just a home away from home but a repository of music history and my life in music. -- As told to Bill Higgins