Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick showed Clive Davis’s A list party crowd how superstars make history last night. In front of a double A list crowd in the Beverly Hilton grand ballroom, the two cousins (their mothers are sisters) brought down the house with “That’s What Friends Are For” in a tribute to Warwick’s 50 years in showbiz. It was the culmination of a magic night that included performances by Jennifer Hudson–who was amazing in her own tribute to Aretha Franklin– as well as Mumford & Son, Mary J. Blige, R Kelly, Janelle Monae, Cee Lo Green, and “Glee” star Matthew Morrison.
And the room was jammed with celebrities, from Cher (who came to honor David Geffen as an Industry Icon), to Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Quincy Jones, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher, Jon Voight, Neil Young, David Crosby, Usher, Monica, Brandy, Jackie Collins, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, Randy Jackson, socialite Barbara Davis, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, David Foster, Leona Lewis, Toni Braxton, Verdine White (of Earth Wind and Fire), Jane Lynch, Suzanne de Passe, Penny Marshall, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Tracy Ullman, Gayle King, Ari Emanuel, Barry Manilow, Dave Grohl, Martina McBride, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Nick Lachey, songwriters Diane Warren and Desmond Child, Narada Michael Walden, Sam Moore, George Schlatter, Kathy Griffin, Nick Jonas, Les Moonves and Julie Chen.
Note to Justin Bieber: both Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus were in the room and there was not a bit of commotion.
Also–so many legends of the record biz-Mo Ostin, Lou Adler, Doug Morris (who’s taking over Sony Music July 1st, as I exclusively reported), Berry Gordy, Marty Bandier, Evan Lamberg, Michael Lippman, Larry Jackson, Barry Weiss, LA Reid, Arnold Stiefel, Guy Oseary, Elliot Roberts, Richard Palmese, Tom Corson, Randy Phillips, Joel Katz, and so on.
And a stealth guest at the People magazine table: Facebook co-creator Sean Parker, who also invented Napster, the downloading service that brought down the music business. Parker confirmed for me he’s bought the big townhouse he’s been renting in Greenwich Village for a tidy sum of 20 –that’s twenty–million dollars. Welcome, neighbor!
The funniest line of the night about the music business, from Clive: “We had to do the place cards in pencil.”
And Cher, of course, at the podium, introducing one time lover Geffen, who now has a male partner: “I don’t even know what this f—– award is.”
And Clive, at the very end of the show, as Whitney and Dionne finished up, and Whitney had no stage direction: “I found you when you were 19 and I’m still your boss,” he said lovingly, and pulled her to his side.