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Clive Davis honored at Tribeca Film Festival opening night

The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival kicked off Wednesday night in New York City with a tribute to legendary music man Clive Davis.

The festival’s premiere screening was all about the music Davis helped create over his five-decade career. Artists, celebrities and music fans packed into Radio City Music Hall to watch the screening of the documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives.”

The 123-minute Chris Perkel-directed doc takes viewers on a musical journey through Davis’ career. It is based on Davis’ 2013 memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life.”

The 80-year-old record producer and executive reflects on his musical career throughout the film. He first begins with his unexpected decision to leave a job at a law firm and take a position with Columbia Records.

Davis describes how he went from “knowing nothing” about music in the early ’60s to finding out later he had a natural gift. He went on to discover artists such as Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, and he also played an essential role in shaping the careers of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, Carlos Santana, Patti Smith, Kenny G and so much more.


RIL 19: Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. 

Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Several artists and music executives praised Davis throughout the film and at the Wednesday night screening for his contribution to their careers.

After the screening, those in attendance were treated to a concert featuring many of Davis’ mentees. Barry Manilow, Earth Wind & Fire — with a guest appearance from Kenny G — and Aretha Franklin each performed some of their biggest hits.

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Barry Manilow performs at the world premiere of “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” at Radio City Music Hall, during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in New York. 

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Jennifer Hudson sang a tribute to Whitney Houston and at one point made her way into the audience to serenade Mr. Davis while singing Houston’s 1987 hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

The first night of the film festival was a time to celebrate music and the arts and also honor the person Aretha Franklin called “the greatest record man of all-time.”

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NJennifer Hudson and Clive Davis attend the “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives” Premiere at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. 

Mike Coppola, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival will run in New York City through April 30. 

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