By People Staff
March 08, 2004 12:00 PM

He lives for music,” says singer Annie Lennox of her friend, record-producing mogul Clive Davis, now 71. “He’s totally obsessed.” And Davis’s genius since the 1960s has been to make his obsessions the rest of the country’s, even the world’s. Responsible for the careers of such epochal singers as Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston and Bruce Springsteen—back in the ’70s, he recalls, “I sensed Bruce could be a young major poet laureate”—Davis is still racking up the hits with the likes of Busta Rhymes, Christina Aguilera and American Idol star Clay Aiken. Davis has his own special reason for singing these days: Four years after retiring from Arista, the label he founded in 1974, he has recently been called back and elevated to chairman of BMG North America, Arista’s current owner. To be honest, his taste runs to the older stuff: “Folk music or folk rock is what I’m most naturally drawn to. But my ears stay open.”