Clive Davis Says Planned Documentary Will Take Viewers Inside His Pre-Grammy Party, Music’s ‘Hottest Ticket’

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We’ve all heard the stories from inside Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, held the Saturday night before the annual Grammy Awards. There was then-rookie artist Alicia Keys performing her most high-profile gig yet in 2001 — and then duetting with Aretha Franklin two years later. Also in 2003, Rod Stewart hit the stage with Lou Reed for an unexpected duet.

It’s always been a hot ticket for those in the industry and an impossible ticket for those who aren’t — until now. On the new Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, the legendary music industry executive tells Katie and Keith about plans to make a documentary out of previously unseen footage from the A-list party, starting with its inception back in 1976.


“I’m working with [film and TV producers] Jesse Collins and Rob Ford and others to go through the history of our pre-Grammy gala,” Davis says on the podcast. “It’s been the hottest ticket … because you never know whether it was Prince, whether it was [Paul] McCartney, whether it was Sly and the Family Stone, they’d be in the audience along with the tastemakers, along with the heads of every motion picture studio, every record company. … So it’s a unique audience. But it’s the music, seeing the artists together that you would never have seen anywhere in your life. And we’re going to put a documentary together and propose it to Netflix and Paramount+.”

Now, the Grammy Award-winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee says he’s ready to pull back the curtain on the famously exclusive event. “It’s time to open the ball and reveal it, and you won’t be disappointed,” Davis promises. “They have been jaw-dropping.”

Also in the interview, Davis regales the Pop Shop team with stories about five of the biggest artists he’s worked with over the decades: Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Prince, P!nk and Usher. The timing of the interview was perfect, because the Billboard staff just chose Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as the No. 1 entry on our list of the 500 Best Pop Songs, so we got to celebrate the news with the man behind the song — and he also offered up a couple of personal picks for his favorite Whitney songs.

Davis also discussed how Dionne Warwick has stayed relevant over the years, from her hilarious social media presence to Doja Cat sampling “Walk On By” for the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Paint the Town Red”; he recalled his spirited debates about the music business with late legend Prince; he traced P!nk’s evolution into a world-class live performer; and he chatted about why Usher is the right pick for the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show.

Also on the show, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary this month of the Pop Shop Podcast, inviting back original co-host and pod founder Jason Lipshutz for the super-sized episode. We also have chart news on how Taylor Swift achieves her 10th No. 1 on the Hot 100 with a four-year old song, as “Cruel Summer” jumps 9-1, while Bad Bunny notches his third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard‘s executive digital director, West Coast, Katie Atkinson and Billboard’s managing director, charts and data operations, Keith Caulfield every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)

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