Friday, April 12, 2024

Clive Davis Grammy Party of all Time Brings Cher, Mariah, Meryl, Tom and Rita, Jelly Roll into the Same Room, Plus Serena Williams Rocking to Green Day, R&B Legends


I’m filing this at 6:16am New York time. Guests have only recently left the after party for Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy gala.

Only Davis, the great music mogul, could organize a room of 950 guests in which half of them are famous.

In the Beverly Hilton ballroom: Cher, Mariah Carey, Meryl Streep, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson, Nancy and Paul Pelosi Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy — and that’s the tip of the iceberg. The old guard met the new guard, everyone danced to groups like Public Enemy and the Islaey Brothers.

Tom Hanks introduced Clive, rattling off two or three dozen names of stars Davis either created or helped reach their stardom. Some — Like Dionne Warwick and Earth Wind & fire, and Melissa Manchester — who was at my table were there. (Also at my table Paul Shaffer and Frankie Valli. The latter is 89 and booking dates!

I jumped ahead: the night began with tennis great Serena Williams introducing her favorite band of all time, Green Day. And Serena wasn’t the only racquet-teer, Martina Navritolova was in the house.

The great songwriters Valerie Simpson and Diane Warren had their own table. So did Gregg Alexander — he wrote “Murder on the Dance Floor,” among others. More Hollywood types included the very hot Julia Garner. The Greatest Actress of all Time, Meryl Streep, came with daughter Grace and son-in-law Mark Ronson. Ronson performed a gender reversed version of his Oscar nominated “I’m Just Ken” with country star Lainey Wilson.

And then just quietly sitting around until it was their turn were legendary artists Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick — and they closed the four show that had begun with no less than Green Day doing a medley of their hits. In between Green Day and these massive stars was a program that included Noah Kahan (who Meryl Streep really liked), plus Josh Groban singing Sondheim, then playing piano with a gospel choir and Michael Trotter Jr’s insanely emotional version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

The Hankses and the Dansons hung out, Cher and Steep reconnected, there was Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Sheila E., Lenny Kravitz, Boy Genius, Narada Michael Walden, Debbie Gibson, Kylie Minogue, producer Benny Blanco, Jack Antonoff with wife Margaret Qualley, Chloe and Halle Bailey, Janelle Monae, Don Lemon, and more more more! Comedian Jeff Ross brought Tiffany Haddish and Sacha Baron Cohen over from a dinner at Ted Sarandos’s house for 30 comedians.

Did I mention all the society types and philanthropists? There were plenty: Michael and Iris Smith, Nikki Haskell, Blaine Trump, Denise Rich, Barbara Davis with daughter Nancy and her husband Ken Rickel, to name a few.

But back to to Hollywood: Adrien Brody with Georgina Chapman, Michele Lee and Fred Rappoport, “Laugh In” producer George Schlatter — 93 and just published a memoir! I saw David Foster, Shania Twain, Luke Combs, Brandi Carlile, and MSNBC star Ari Melber. There was also Kenny Babyface Edmonds and Bon Jovi songwriter Desmond Child.

Ice Spice even performed and shook her derriere in the nicest way!

Forget Musicares or the Grammys. Or even the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Clive’s dinner is the centerpiece of entertainment. Each act is topping the previous one all night. Then finally Gladys Knight took the stage and delivered her own sublime rendition of “The Way We Were” — she had a big hit with it in 1974.  Dionne joined her on stage with Andra Day and Keyshia Cole for “That’s What Friends Are For.” After a few minutes of vocal nirvana, Stevie came on stage and played the harmonica.

That was supposed to be the end. But then Stevie got the idea they should all sing “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Keep refreshing for the video. Stevie called out keys to the startled band and soon the room levitated. It was only then that I noticed the Nancy and Paul Pelosi and Berry Gordy were still there! So was much of the room, fixated on this legendary performance.

Look, in years past Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, and all kinds of heavyweights made us think their shows were “the best ever” of the Clive Davis concerts. But this one will stand out — and not just because Cher and discussed ice cream! Or that I picked up news about new music being worked on by Aerosmith and by Mariah Carey. (More on that tomorrow.)

And Stevie? He had so much fun he trekked up to the Polo Lounge with everyone for the after party. He may still be there!

More to come, with pictures and video galore!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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