Meanwhile, the biggest hit on the Hot 100 that week – and one of the top titles of the Hot 100's entire six-decade history – belonged to Whitney Houston: "I Will Always Love You." In honor of the ballad's anniversary, Gary and Trevor are honored to welcome Clive Davis to reminisce about its coronation and much more encompassing the Sony Music executive's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legacy.
Davis touches on a variety of topics from his career, starting with Houston's film debut in The Bodyguard, which generated "I Will Always Love You," plus the Hot 100 top 10s "I'm Every Woman" and "I Have Nothing." "I did not push her at all in that direction," Davis says. "She decided herself that she wanted to branch out into film. Honestly, I was apprehensive, [even though] she was a worldwide star. But she felt strongly about it."
As for the lengthy a cappella intro of Houston's signature hit, was Davis worried that it might be too atypical for radio? "Yes, there were several calls from radio to our promotion staff, advocating changing the beginning. But, frankly, this was a classic." The song went on to top the Hot 100 for 14 weeks in 1992-93, then a record.
Says Davis, "You've got to know the exception to the rule."
Davis further muses about his successes ranging from signing Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Santana in the '60s and '70s to helping launch Houston's career in the '80s and Alicia Keys' in the 2000s, triumphs that helped his new documentary, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, debut atop iTunes' top 200 documentary tally and win the Critics' Choice Documentary Award for best music documentary.
Along with Davis' renowned business acumen, and his ability to revive veteran acts' careers, he's become iconic thanks, at his core, to a pure love of music. "I'm heartened when a record breaks that indicates … an artist," he says.
"Give us a unique artist, not just a hit record."
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