Song Lyric Sunday — Clive Davis

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has asked us to write about any song that Clive Davis produced. I knew a little about Clive Davis. He’s an American record producer, A&R executive, music industry executive, and lawyer. He’s won Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 2000.

From 1967 to 1973, Davis was the president of Columbia Records. He founded and ran Arista Records from 1974 through 2000 until founding J Records. From 2002 until April 2008, Davis was the chair and CEO of the RCA Music Group (which included RCA Records, J Records, and Arista Records), chair and CEO of J Records, and chair and CEO of BMG North America. Quite the recording industry resume, huh?

During his long tenure in the music industry, Davis had an enormous stable of recording artists that he signed and records that he produced. According to Wikipedia, in June 1967, at the urging of his friend and business associate Lou Adler, Davis attended the Monterey Pop Festival. He immediately signed Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.

I decided, therefore, to write about “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Clive Davis said of this song that, with Joplin being the first artist he signed, it was the first record that he even attempted to be involved with. Not too shabby for a rookie.

“Piece of My Heart” was a romantic funk/soul love song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns. It was originally recorded by Erma Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s older sister, in 1967. It was Erma’s biggest hit. She went on to sing backup on some of Aretha’s songs.

But the song came to greater mainstream attention when Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals) covered it in 1968 and had a much bigger hit with it.

Bert Berns was Van Morrison’s producer at the time, and Morrison had signed to Berns’ record label, Bang. Berns wanted Morrison to record this song for his first solo album in 1967, but Van declined, choosing to record his own songs instead. Berns never got to hear Joplin sing it; he died of a heart attack on December 30, 1967.

The song is about a lovelorn woman so enraptured by her man that she’s willing to break off yet another piece of her heart if only he will take it. Joplin showed off her extraordinary vocal dexterity on the song, which was right in her wheelhouse in terms of dynamics and subject matter.

Janis Joplin sang this song at Woodstock in 1969 as part of her encore. Here are the lyrics to “Piece of My Heart.”

Oh, come on, come on, come on, come on

Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man yeah
And didn't I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can?
Honey, you know I did!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I've had enough
But I'm gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough

I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
You know you got it if it makes you feel good
Oh, yes indeed.

You're out on the streets looking good
And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain't right
Never, never, never, never, never, never hear me when I cry at nigh
Babe, I cry all the time!
And each time I tell myself that I, well I can't stand the pain
But when you hold me in your arms, I'll sing it once again

I said come on, come on, come on, come on and take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah,
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby,
You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel good

I need you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
Break another little bit of my heart, now darling, yeah, c'mon now
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
You know you got it whoa!

Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby,
Break another little bit of my heart, now darling, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby, hey
You know you got it, child, if it makes you feel goo
d

And here is the original recording by Erma Franklin.

3 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Clive Davis

  1. bushboy April 3, 2022 / 3:41 am

    He had an amazing number of performers to choose from Fandango. You picked a couple of beauties 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor April 3, 2022 / 7:11 am

    They say that you have to suffer in order to be able to sing the Blues and Janis had a hard life. Nice choice Fandango and I hope we get more Janis songs today. I just renewed my WordPress subscription.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. leigha66 April 3, 2022 / 7:04 pm

    I have always loved Janis and her amazing voice… a talent taken far too young. A great song for a first try.

    Liked by 1 person

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