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Friday, April 27 News

Clive Davis, music industry giant, to give Westport Library's Malloy Lecture

Clive Davis, a highly influential figure in the music business, will be the featured speaker at the Westport Library's annual Malloy Lecture in the Arts in May.

Davis, the winner of six Grammy Awards, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements over five decades in the music and recording fields, a record that includes work with legends like Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Simon and Garfunkel.

The Malloy Lecture is set for 7:30 p.m. May 2 in the Bedford Middle School auditorium, 88 North Ave. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

Davis's remarks will include discussion of his memoir, "The Soundtrack of My Life," which the library describes as an "essential book for anyone interested in popular music." The interview-style conversation will be facilitated by Davis's co-author, Anthony DeCurtis, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a Grammy Award winner in the Best Album Notes Category for Eric Clapton's "Crossroads."

Davis's career spans about one-half century, from the Monterey Pop Festival where he discovered a young Janis Joplin to working with Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Arrowsmith, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keyes, among many others. His influence has also had an impact on the careers of Simon and Garfunkel, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Rod Stewart, as well as recent American Idol contestants-turned-pop stars Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson.

Davis is known for his "ears" and his ability to spot talent and create hit records, according to a release from the library, which contributed to the success of the music labels Columbia, Arista, J and now Sony Music over the course of his career.

In his Westport presentation, Davis is expected to recount his younger years, which saw the orphaned child rise from poverty to a full scholarship at New York University and then Harvard Law School. he later became general counsel at Columbia Records and, according to the library, the "lucky break" that led him to the presidency of the company.

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is made possible by a contribution from Westport artist Susan Malloy. The Westport Library initiated the annual lecture in 2002 as a free, public annual discussion by an individual who has had a significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the public's understanding and appreciation of the arts. Past programs have included John Lithgow, Arthur Miller, Billy Collins and Jacques D'Amboise.

To register or for more information, visit www.westportlibrary.org or call 203-291-4800.