Bruno Mars

How Taylor Swift gave Clive Davis the idea for Johnny Mathis' 'Great New American Songbook'

How Taylor Swift gave Clive Davis the idea for Johnny Mathis' 'Great New American Songbook'

The first time Johnny Mathis and Clive Davis worked together closely, things didn’t go quite as planned.

The year was 1973, and Davis — then the head of Mathis’ label, Columbia Records — had paired the old-fashioned romantic crooner with producer Thom Bell for “I’m Coming Home,” an album that set Mathis’ distinctive high-pitched voice against the lush R&B sound known as Philadelphia soul.

“I thought it was one of the best things I’d done, and Tommy loved it,” Mathis said recently. “But then Clive got fired before we could publicize the album, so it just kind of languished.” The singer laughed gently, recalling Davis’ untimely dismissal from Columbia after an...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
64°