Clive Davis' Book: a Cheat Sheet

Clive Davis book P

Clive Davis' epic memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, won't be an easy read for every music fan. Puffy aficionados may not care to read about Johnny Winter's contract negotiations, and the folks who pick it up to learn more about Janis Joplin probably won't care much about why Davis fell out with Kenny G or Dallas Austin. But lodged within its decades-spanning stats and minutiae are plenty of intriguing tidbits. From the book's nearly 600 pages, here are the 60 most fun factoids and anecdotes:

1. One of Davis’ earliest tasks at Columbia Records is censoring Bob Dylan. It was his responsibility, in a then-underling role, to tell Dylan that “Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues” would have to be excised from his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The lines about all John Birchers holding “Hitler’s views” were libelous, the company had decided. The young Dylan went apoplectic. Fortunately for Davis, Dylan might not be very good with names or faces: “In later years, when we had occasion to work together very cordially, I don’t think Dylan remembered that I was the lawyer who delivered this bad news to him.”

2. Yes, Janis Joplin did offer him a celebratory lay. It came through Big Brother’s lawyer, in advance of their meeting to sign the deal. “’You know what Janis would really like to do?’ Big Brother manager Albert Grossman asked. ‘She thinks it would be only fitting and proper that she ball you to cement the deal. That would be her way of showing this is a more meaningful relationship …’” Through the intermediary, Davis respectfully declined.

3. Somebody did show up naked to the Joplin signing, but it wasn’t her. When one of the members of Big Brother & the Holding Company stood up at the end of the meeting, “I could see that he had been sitting there nude the whole time.”

4. Davis asks Broadway legend Richard Rodgers to listen to Janis Joplin. Oops. As a theater aficionado, Clive imagines that Rodgers might be impressed with Joplin’s cover of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. “When the song ended, he didn’t say anything, which unnerved me … I decided to play ‘Piece of My Heart’ for him. Now that was a mistake … It was impossible for him to imagine why anyone would think she was talented. ‘If this means I have to change my writing, or that the only way to write a Broadway musical to is to write rock songs, then my career is over,’ he said, punctuating his remarks with emphatic gestures.”

5. Joplin snubs a worshipful Laura Nyro. “Laura was barely known and just wanted to tell her how much she loved the show. Janis ignored her, while taking belts straight from her bottle of Southern Comfort and chatting up a boy she was interested in. When Laura became something of a star herself a little bit later, things got worse. ‘I can see I’m not the number one female in your eyes anymore,’ Janis told me one day on the phone.”

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6. Simon & Garfunkel try to block a Graduate soundtrack album. Director Mike Nichols decided not to use any of the songs Paul Simon had written for the film except “Mrs. Robinson,” but did use some other oldies by the duo. Davis had the idea of having an album of half songs and half Dave Grusin score. They were miffed, but agreed after Davis promised not to put their photos on the album cover and to release Bookends three months later as scheduled. (Read an excerpt from this chapter at

7. Davis angers Simon when he expressed displeasure at the S&G breakup. “Paul has said in interviews that when audiences erupted in applause after Artie completed the bravura close to ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ he would be onstage thinking, 'yes, thank you, I wrote that song.' That’s not the way successful partners should be thinking … I knew how competitive Paul was and how much he valued success,” so he told Simon that “it would be extremely difficult for him to achieve alone anything like the stratosphere he had reached with Simon and Garfunkel … Paul was not at all happy to hear this.”

8. He talks Bob Dylan into changing the title of Nashville Skyline … too late. “It was not in any literal sense a country album, and … I believed the title might be a turnoff to rock fans … Dylan’s invariable response in such conversations was ‘I’ll get back to you.’ Most often that simply meant ‘I don’t want to say no to you directly’ … On the day album covers were being shipped, a month after our last conversation on the subject, Dylan called to say that he’d been thinking about it and maybe I was right, maybe the album’s title should be changed. I had to tell him it was too late; we couldn’t change it. Now he grew concerned. Did I really think the title would impact his sales?”

9. Dylan almost became the flagship artist for … MGM Records. In 1966, CBS brass still weren't convinced Dylan had the long-term appeal of an Andy Williams and resisted his lawyer's demands for a better deal. MGM's record division put a much better offer on the table that Dylan actually signed. But Allen Klein, a member of MGM's board, asked Davis for a candid assessment of Dylan's commercial importance and found his actual record sales "were not likely what they believed them to be," leading Klein to tell the MGM board that signing him would be "a huge mistake." The studio dragged its feet till Dylan himself finally backed out. and the MGM label subsequently became a mere footnote in music history. 

10. Dylan’s 1970 Self Portrait wasn’t originally meant to be funny. Greil Marcus began Rolling Stone’s lengthy discussion of the album with the question ‘What is this shit?’ That pretty much summed up the tone of the reviews overall. Dylan was stung by many of the comments that were made. At first, he was defensive, but in succeeding years he has gone to some length to distance himself from the album. In a 1984 Rolling Stone interview he even referred to Self Portrait as ‘a joke,’ prompting an excellent follow-up question by Kurt Loder: ‘But why did you make it a double-album joke?’ … Dylan had discussed his concept for Self Portrait with me was he was working on the album, and at no point was he as ironic about it as he would later suggest.” Things might have gone differently if Dylan had recorded with the Byrds, as planned, but they “left town the day they were supposed to go into the studio, and Dylan was infuriated, as was I.”

11. Jim Messina didn’t want to make Loggins & Messina an official duo. Their first album was called Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In. On the second album, Messina “still wanted to keep his options open and describe himself as just ‘sittin’ in.’ This time I drew the line.”

12. Davis tries to coax Billy Joel out of recording retirement. A couple of years ago, he had Joel come into his office and, since Joel said in the ‘90s that he was done writing pop songs, shared an idea for Joel to record an album of rock classics. “He didn’t yell. He didn’t flee.” But after thinking about it for five months, Joel had his lawyer call Davis and say he’d decided he still had no desire to ever go in the studio again.

13. Shocker: Davis likes being in the limelight. “In the same way that I had faced potshots for being a big spender with the signings of Johnny Winter, Neil Diamond and Pink Floyd, I was called to task for courting personal publicity during my time at Columbia. Guilty as charged.”

14. He swears he didn’t personally charge his son’s bar mitzvah to his expense account. In a chapter devoted to his being fired from Columbia in 1973, he notes that the initial complaint filed against him by CBS cited $94,000 in expense-account violations over his six-year tenure as label president. He says it was really the fault of Columbia’s jailed former head of artist relations, who had “been in cahoots with a mobster” to falsify invoices or drum up kickbacks, “a few of them involving aspects of my personal business” -- including that bar mitzvah. After pleading guilty later to “failing to pay $2,700 in taxes on $8,800 of contested travel expenses,” Davis felt vindicated by the “virtually complete exoneration,” and by the judge speaking up about “the really grievous suffering of this individual and his family because of the intolerable publicity he has been exposed to.” Davis complains that “when I am written about or profiled in the media to this day, even well-meaning reporters mention, as if it were an established fact, that I wrote off my son Fred’s bar mitzvah as a business expense, even though that is not true.”

15. Davis passes the bar exam, again … in 1996, while he was heading Arista. Davis had been told his minor tax conviction was a misdemeanor, but a federal court ruling established “any tax violation on the part of an attorney” as a felony -- thus suspending Davis’ law license. So, decades later, he applied to be reinstated to the bar, even though he hardly needed to think about moonlighting. “In 1996, the year I applied for readmission to the bar, I earned more than $70 million, mostly from my phantom equity ownership interest in Arista Records.” For four to five months, he stayed up every night from 10 to 1, studying for the exam, and was told he landed in the top 3 to 4 percent. 

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16. Davis almost starts a new label with Saturday Night Fever/Hair impresario Robert Stigwood -- but Ahmet Ertegun sabotages it after experiencing a dose of competitive jealousy at a party. After being booted from Columbia, Davis got an offer from Chris Blackwell to run a new label group, but Blackwell backed out because of tax and payout issues. Then Davis aligned with Stigwood -- who was still bound to a contract with Atlantic. Ertegun told Davis that “he would be sympathetic to letting Stigwood out of his contract.” But two days before the deal is to be closed, Davis went to a party for James Taylor and Carly Simon, also attended by Ertegun … who scotches everything less than 48 hours later. “The only interpretation I could come up with was that at the party Ahmet had witnessed firsthand the special relationships I had established with artists … Ahmet played hard, as I do, and to that extent I can rationalize why he made the decision to stop the Stigwood deal.” This turnabout was proof that sometimes in life, you schmooze, you lose.

17. Barry Manilow has a fit over recording “I Write the Songs.” Manilow “still very much saw himself as a singer-songwriter” in the vein of Elton John and Billy Joel, whereas Davis sees him as an “entertainer.” After Manilow keeps balking at recording covers, an official compromise is reached: Davis gets to choose two songs for every album and Manilow can write the rest himself. But when Davis presents “I Write the Songs,” Manilow is aghast at the bitter irony: “Here’s a song that I didn’t even write, and yet I’m declaring that I write the songs that make the whole world sing?” “He stormed out of my office, and I didn’t hear from him for another two or three months … [It] has gone on to become his signature song. Nobody worries whether he wrote it.”

18. Davis gets a good zinger off at Manilow. The mogul describes a “boiling point” when Manilow’s sales began to slip in the early 1980s. “One day he said to me, ‘Look, I appreciate the songs you give me, but you’re turning me into Andy Williams or Perry Como. I’m a musician, I’m a composer!’ I looked him straight in the eye, and with all the frustration that had been building up, said, ‘Well, if you were Irving Berlin, we would know it by now!’ ”

19. Adult-contemporary queen Melissa Manchester fancies herself an auteur, too. She fought Davis “tooth and nail” and, when he brought her “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and “You Should Hear How He Talks About You.” Writes Davis: “Melissa hated both songs with a passion … She was determined to live or die with her own songs.” Manchester ultimately wouldn’t agree to the type of deal Manilow had, where Davis would pick two covers per album and let her write the rest. Many years later, he quotes her as telling other people, “I didn’t realize the gift that was being given to me. I wish he had given me shock therapy or something to make me wake up and mature.”

20. He tries to get the Alan Parsons Project added as co-scorers on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “I didn’t think that [John] Williams would be able to produce something that we could use as a single.” He sits Williams and Steven Spielberg down, plays them the I Robot album, “and asked if there was any way we could incorporate their music into the film.” They politely declined. Later, Davis released a single from the Taxi Driver album, of Robert DeNiro’s voiceover over Bernard Herrmann’s score. “’Are you talkin’ to me?’ may be a classic film line, but it isn’t a lyrical hook,” he admits.

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21. Davis faces a difficult choice between Tom Petty and Dwight Twilley. In picking up Shelter Records, he got the “bombshell” news that a squabble with ABC ensured that Shelter’s owner would only be able to bring over one of the two artists. Torn, Davis ultimately went with the artist who’d already had a major hit … Twilley.

22. Lou Reed is one of the few artists Davis socializes with outside of work over the years. But it has its limits. Despite his then-glam image, Davis found Reed “just a Jewish guy who grew up in Freeport, except with dyed hair, incredibly long fingernails, and the palest skin … One weekend, I asked him to take a drive in (a) summer cabana in Long Beach … He said he could never do that. ‘Clive,’ he told me, ‘if I ever get a tan, my career would be over.’” Later, after Reed is signed to Arista and has a flop album (The Bells), he gives Davis the finger during a club show, saying, “Here, this is for you, Clive. Where’s the money, Clive? How come I don’t hear my album on the radio?” 

23. Rebellious image aside, Patti Smith doesn’t like being uncommercial. “Something one should know about Patti: She always wanted a hit … She wanted to sit on the sofa on The Tonight Show and trade quips with Johnny Carson. Those were goals she shared with me …” Although the Johnny dream was not to be, she had her radio hit when she covered a Bruce Springsteen outtake.

24. He was about to sign Fleetwood Mac to Arista right before they blew up. “I still have the contract, ready for signatures, in my files.” The meetings with Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and company took place just as Over My Head was coming out, and the group didn’t feel Warner Bros. was behind them. After it went five-times platinum, they ended up staying put.

25. Davis thinks the success of “Come Dancing” derails the Kinks’ career. He signed the band to Arista in the mid-‘70s on one condition: No deal if he still wants to make concept albums. “What if he wanted his next project to be Preservation: Act 3? ... Ray assured that my input was welcome, and refreshing -- no one at RCA had ever dealt him such straight-talk.” The Kinks go on to become late-in-life arena-rockers. But Davis grew chagrined when he heard “Come Dancing,” which “was far more pop than rock.” He wanted to come out with a rock single first to placate fans, but Davies went ahead and made a video for his preferred single, which became an MTV smash. “That was the good news,” but Davis blames it turning off their rock fan base for the album failing to go gold. 

26. He passes on Meat Loaf, missing out on one of the top-selling rock albums ever. “The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf just didn’t look like a star.”

27. He gets Stiff but misses out on Elvis Costello. There was a split in the Stiff Records and management camp right before the Arista deal went down, so instead of Costello, Davis ended up with Ian Dury.

28. The Grateful Dead develop an unusual plan for usurping the usual sales model. “One of their innovative solutions to getting around the record-label distribution system was to sell their albums directly to the consumers through a fleet of ice-cream trucks.” Cooler, or warmer, heads prevailed.

29. Whitney Houston can’t override gay rumors early in her career because she’s having an affair with Jermaine Jackson, a then-married man. “The relationship never became public even though everyone around her knew about it.”

30. Houston wants to be a songwriter … for about 10 minutes. Coming up on her third album, Houston knew that critics “have much greater regard for artists who write their own material than for those who don’t … Of course, money was a factor as well.” Davis told her she was in the tradition of Holiday, Vaughan, Aretha, Sinatra, and Streisand. “All of them are Olympian artists, and, for the most part, none of them wrote.” After that conversation, “she never brought the issue up with me again.”

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31. Davis hates the initial rushes of The Bodyguard and exacerbates a rift among the film team. “I got extremely concerned. Whitney was a natural beauty, but she was not a natural actress.” He wrote a letter to Houston and the filmmakers, saying that she needed to sing in a more bravura way before the finale to establish the character’s stardom. “Kevin Costner completely agreed with my suggestions, and that contributed to his falling-out with [director] Mick Jackson.”

32. He gets in a blowout fight with David Foster over “I Will Always Love You.” Costner wanted the song to have an a cappella beginning and slow build. Foster hated that idea and “deliberately sent me a version that he regarded as outrageously under-produced, ‘substandard’ in his own description of it.” To Foster’s chagrin, Davis thought it was brilliant as-is. Foster said he’d already erased that “rough mix” -- but Davis still had the DAT copy and went ahead and had it mastered and released. “Without notice, David immediately heard it on the radio, and he called me up and laced me with every obscenity known to mankind.”

33. After she blows her chance at singing at the 2000 Oscars, Davis invites Houston to his weekend home and tells her she needs to go to rehab. “She didn’t storm out of the room. Then she told me point-blank -- politely, but in no uncertain terms -- that whatever was going on with her was a personal matter and she had it under control … She was in complete denial.”

34. He takes his one co-writing credit ever on Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” The original lyrics were terrible and needed to be revised in a hurry, so he took on the task himself. “As I recall, one of the lines was ‘I’m all out of love, I want to arrest you.’”

35. He and Kenny G have a bitter breakup. Davis kept the sax player’s career going through what he called “concept albums” with easily sellable angles. But “after more holiday albums, an album of originals, a duets album, and a covers album of romantic melodies, my relationship with Kenny became a little contentious … He had an eagerness to return to the charts with his own material, but it was my job to tell him that could no longer happen … You try to keep it warm and cordial … but nearly all endings are sad endings.”

36. He makes a deal with Jive Records, future home to Britney Spears and NSync, in the early 1980s “thinking that Clive Calder’s label would give us a boost in the rock world.” Irony alert.

37. Taylor Dayne: another failed auteur. “Taylor fell victim to her ambition to be a songwriter.” Many years later, “she wrote me a long letter, saying how deeply she regretted not listening to me years ago,” but he felt sad, knowing that “too much time, too many years had elapsed for Top 40 to be a realistic goal.”

38. Milli Vanilli: He knew nothing. Davis was offended that anyone could think of him as a “co-conspirator” and imagined him “stroking a cat in my lap like Dr. Evil.” But he says it was a pickup deal and no one from Arista in the United States even met singers Fab and Rob until five months after the album had come out and it was already two-times platinum. Even then, “it never would have entered my mind to take Rob or Fab aside and say, ‘Honestly, between us, is that really you singing?’” Davis doesn’t think it reaches Watergate-like proportions. “Even if [people] think, Those were the guys who didn’t really sing on the records, they can’t deny that the songs hooked them.”

39. Michael Jackson broke into his parents’ house to confront Jermaine over “Word to the Badd.” The bad blood between the brothers stemmed mostly to a dispute over the services of L.A. Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Jermaine was working with the writer-producers on his first album for the Arista-distributed LaFace, but then Michael offered them more money and all that material was diverted to him. Soon after, there was a leak to radio “Word to the Badd,” Jermaine’s “bitter excoriation of his brother.” Michael called Davis to complain and lobby to get it taken off his brother’s upcoming album, saying, “How could you let my brother do this?” Davis said it was not under his control, and Michael lamented that his brother was avoiding him and was nowhere to be found. Davis told Michael that he had just gotten a call from Jermaine at their parents’ house. Hours later, Jermaine called Davis from the house and said, “Michael went around to the back, climbed up and went through a window, and came down the stairs and confronted me.” Eventually Jermaine rewrote the lyrics to make it about “a lovers’ quarrel” instead of including the original lines about skin-whitening and such.

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40. TLC come to Davis’ office to demand money they think they have coming … and post their own security guard outside the door so no one else can enter. “Later, rumors circulated that they were armed, but I never saw any weapons.”

41. Toni Braxton doesn’t like “Un-Break My Heart” and balks at recording it. Of course, Davis prevails … unlike later, when Braxton co-writes seven of 12 songs on her third album, “which didn’t make nearly the impact, either culturally or commercially, of her first two albums.” Davis also points to her “overspending, grandiose productions and videos, ultraexpensive touring costs, and a desire to write her own material” as factors in her downhill slide.

42. Davis never brings any security with him when he’s hanging out with the new generation of hip-hop stars, like his protégé Sean "Puffy" Combs. “One time I was at a party, and the next day I heard there was a shooting after I left. So I probably was like Mr. Magoo or just plain stupid.”

43. He and certain rappers are birds of a materialistic feather. “My relationship with Puffy also highlighted certain elements of my lifestyle that played well in the hip-hop world. In the rock world … you present yourself in jeans and vintage shirts … I very much enjoy good clothes and some of the finer things in life. Rappers do, too, and perhaps it’s one of the reasons I’ve been welcomed so warmly into their world.”

44. Ace of Base have one of the biggest selling albums of all time -- something that is inexplicable even to Davis, almost. He says it was certified diamond, and although the RIAA site says it has actually only gone nine-times-platinum, most people today would be startled to know that The Sign even sold 2 million. “As quickly as they appeared, they were gone. They just couldn’t pull it off a second time … You can’t schedule a charisma implant.”

45. Carlos Santana is advised by an angel to meet with Davis. The veteran guitarist invites the mogul to a show and shares the desire to work together for the first time in decades. “When I asked Carlos what he wanted to do with his music, he told me that his goal was to connect ‘the molecules with the light.’ Being on the radio would be his means of accomplishing that.” The source of this mysticism? The angel Metatron, who must have been onto something, since after not going gold for years, Santana managed to go 15-times-platinum with Supernatural.

46. Davis was never a fan of former BMG chairman Michael Dornemann. “He had been an efficiency expert and was definitely not a music man. It was well known within the industry that when you met with Dornemann you were there to listen.” This may sound like the pot calling the kettle black, but Davis makes a good case for Dornemann’s ineptness. At one point, the BMG chief tells him, “Well, you are an employee, not a partner,” even though Davis’ phantom equity interest in Arista spelled things out very differently. When a meeting is scheduled for Davis to re-up his deal, with pen in hand, Davis looked at Dornemann’s boss, Bertelsmann chief Mark Woessner, and asked, “Before I sign … am I your partner or your employee?” Davis got the answer he wanted, in front of his adversary. 

47. The dinner where Dornemann and Strauss Zelnick told Davis he’d have to retire as head of Arista, and be replaced by L.A. Reid, does not last long. “I was 67 at the time, and believed that I was at the height of my powers … I got up and walked out of the restaurant.” The timing couldn’t have been worse for Davis’ corporate overseers, since the Santana album was just beginning to blow up and turn into the year’s pop phenomenon. 

48. As Bertelsmann rushes to reverse the blunder, with top artists threatening to bolt the label group, Davis gets $150 million in startup money for J Records. That’s “roughly three times what any major-label start-up had previously cost.”

49. Around the same time, as the result of a bad deal made years earlier, the corporation is contractually obligated to buy out the “other” Clive, Clive Calder, for $2.7 billion. Oy.

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50. Other people balk at promoting Maroon 5 as a pop act, thinking the band needs to be pushed as “modern rock.” But Davis thinks “the jig will be up when we release ‘This Love’ and ‘She Will Be Loved’ as singles … Ultimately to me the band had far greater potential in the pop genre than in rock.” He prevailed. But when it was time to renew the deal with Maroon 5’s label before the second album, Davis bailed. “We crunched the numbers and projected that J was likely to earn somewhere between $20 and $25 million if the next three Maroon 5 albums were successful, while Octone would have to pay us $38 million if it moved to another label.” It was nice to know you, Adam Levine, and while otherwise laudatory, Davis doesn’t mind pointing out the follow-up albums didn’t do nearly as well.

51. Rod Stewart is resurrected … as long as he agrees never to cut a song people haven’t heard a billion times before. The Great American Songbook series wasn’t Davis’ idea, originally, though it sounds like one of his. Davis admits he would never have signed Stewart to rock material this late in his career. But when Stewart and his producer Richard Perry brought him a nearly completed orchestral standards album that had been self-financed, Davis liked the idea, but insisted on throwing out all but a couple of tunes, saying he didn’t want them doing anything remotely unknown to the mass audience. “They chose a few obscure personal favorites … In one sense, they began thinking like critics … They somehow thought the best-known songs were too obvious.” Once they agreed to go with the lowest-common-denominator choices, they ended up releasing five standards albums.

52. X Factor U.K. winner Leona Lewis, too, falls victim to the “I want to write” curse. Davis couldn’t be prouder of breaking Lewis as a multi-platinum act in the States, but for her follow-up, “Leona ended up co-writing nine of the album’s 13 songs. As usual in the case of pop artists, this unexpected turn was ill-advised.” The resulting sophomore effort, he rues, did not even go gold.

53. When Sony BMG tries to bump him upstairs again in 2008, as “chief creative officer” of the label group, this time he accepts. Davis traces his acceptance of the move to reading the self-help book Who Moved My Cheese?

54. At one point he was making $80 million a year. That was one reason Sony BMG wanted to make a change, he admits. But in the years 2004 to 2006, he says he made that much money largely as a result of the end of a five-year buyout deal with a 50 percent ownership in J Records. In 2007-08, after the buyout was complete, he was making a mere $30 million or so. But he says Andy Lack and others didn’t take the buyout into consideration when they were considering his high compensation.

55. Somebody has a pretty bad memory when it comes to tearful outbursts. Whether it’s Davis or American Idol season one winner Kelly Clarkson isn’t altogether clear. He writes that Clarkson hated the experience of working with writer-producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke on the songs “Since U Been Gone” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” and that she cried for minutes when he told her they had already been enthusiastically received at BMG’s international sales conference and would have to stay on her third album. She eventually had to leave the room to compose herself, by his account. Clarkson has said, in turn, that she did cry in front of Davis once, and only once -- when he insulted her song “Because of You” and called her a “shitty writer.” Davis insists in the book that he loved that song and only thought that it should be saved for a third single. As Clive’s pal Aretha once said … who’s zoomin’ who?

56. Kelly is no Bob or Bruce, as far as Davis concerned. When he told her that she was wrong to co-write the entirety of her My December album -- which he characterizes as primarily “dreary” material about her breakup with former Evanescence member David Hodges -- she must have brought up the Boss. “I want to add here that I made it abundantly clear to Kelly in our conversation the difference between My December and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska album … My December is a pure pop album about breaking up with your boyfriend. We’re not dealing with ‘The answer is blowing in the wind.’”

57. And she’s no Carrie Underwood, either, necessarily, in his mind. Davis writes that he “can’t honestly say one way or the other” whether he would have signed Clarkson if he hadn’t been mandated to as an American Idol winner. Now, that’s a diss.

58. Neither he nor Clarkson is unassailable at math. In the book Davis says that none of the three follow-up singles that were released after “Never Again” from the My December album cracked the Hot 100. In her retort, Clarkson said there weren’t any follow-up singles off that album at all. They’re both wrong: There was one, “Sober.” Davis and his co-writer might have gotten confused by looking at her Wikipedia discography, but the two other singles listed there were released in place of “Sober” in foreign territories.

59. But Clarkson might be slightly worse than Davis at arithmetic, after all. “Kelly explained to a reporter that she told me, ‘I get you don’t like the album. You’re eighty -- you’re not supposed to like my album.’ And there I was, a mere seventy-four at the time!”

60. Yep, he’s bi. But you knew that.

Twitter: @chriswillman