updated 02/21/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 02/22/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET
On a late January afternoon, Clive Davis is sitting in his wood-paneled office in Sony Music’s Manhattan headquarters. Soon he’ll be off to catch the opening night of his pal Barry Manilow’s new Broadway show.
But right now he’s gazing at his wall, which holds photos of him with just about every superstar musician through the years: Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin.
Growing up in Brooklyn in the ’30s and ’40s, the legendary music mogul, now 80, was never obsessed with music – “My charts were baseball charts!” – and today sometimes even he can’t believe his enormous success. “Luck played a part,” he says.
Luck and a phenomenal gift for recognizing, nurturing and selling talent. In his new memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, the five-time Grammy-winning Hall of Famer reflects on his nearly five decades as a record producer and executive, discovering and guiding performers like Houston and Alicia Keys, overseeing the careers of, at one time, Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan and helping Santana make a huge comeback in 1999.