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Op-Ed: Kelly & Clive – By Bob Lefsetz

David Geffen called Don Henley a malcontent. Was never gonna let the Eagle get the best of him.

But Geffen's not only a businessman, but a billionaire.

We're used to that. Rich people believing they're entitled to speak their truth. Above recrimination. But ARTISTS?

I'm stunned at the traction Kelly Clarkson's response to Clive Davis got yesterday.

Used to be you were afraid to speak truth to power. And if you decided to, you vetted your words with a high-priced PR person and negotiated with the mainstream press to print them.

But Kelly Clarkson's words were most certainly her own, and she did nothing but post them online, and her minions spread the word.

The truth?

It almost doesn't matter. But what does is the days of artists being beholden sheep are done. We've reached a turning point. And isn't it stunning that the revolution is being led by the winner of a TV talent show. The ungrateful b——–.

That's what the Internet has wrought.

A bunch of people who believe they rule. Who know you win by going to your fans, to the public, not the old men. (And those who are not men act just like them.)

It's like a Mafia movie. In one fell swoop, Kelly Clarkson took a shiv and killed Clive Davis. His book was reviewed in today's "New York Times," but that's irrelevant. Online Kelly Clarkson beat him so bad, he doesn't even know what happened.

Clive Davis wrote a whole book about how he did it his way. Steered the ungrateful ingrates known as artists, and if you don't think the execs have contempt for the acts, you don't know any, away from their instincts and on to success. Prevented them from recording their own lame material and insisted they record canned stuff in a fashion distilled to play well on Top Forty radio. They got rich. Everybody was happy.

Same deal with Tommy Mottola. He didn't want Mariah Carey to inject hip-hop influences into her music.

Yup, Clive and Tommy were anti-art. They were pro-money.

But artists aren't in it for the money, despite the ravings of that lunatic Gene Simmons, they're in it for the audience and the attention, the money is way down the list, the eyeballs fill a hole in their souls. One of the reasons we get crappy music is the people whoring themselves out to major labels are not damaged malcontents like Don Henley, but pragmatists who see music as a way to chase the wealth of Wall Street and the computer titans. And as the money disappeared from music, the execs squeezed the acts even more.

And now they're revolting.

The Eagles put out their own album.

And if the label is mad at you, you just post videos on YouTube, release mixtapes. They can't stop piracy, you think they're going to stop their own charges from making music? The acts of the pre-Internet era were afraid. No longer. Call it upbringing, say the Millennials are entitled. I'll say it's the Internet. Where people speak truth to power all day long. It's in their DNA.

Do you think anybody online is taking Clive's side? The octogenarian who's all over conventional media but doesn't realize that's passe? He thinks being on ABC gives him gravitas, when everybody in the audience laughs at the talking heads, making happy talk and bloviating.

Kelly Clarkson certainly sang those songs. She wrote some of 'em. She got a toehold and won't shut up. She was screwed by Clive, who buried her personal album, and not only is she not forgetting it, she's rubbing his face in it.

This is music's Arab Spring. When the youngsters take power from the old men and refuse to give it back.

Got to thank "American Idol" for that.

And the Internet.

Kelly Clarkson:

P.S. Kelly posts her rebuttal on WhoSay, which I'm sure Clive's never heard of, and finally, today, just an hour ago, Clive Davis releases a statement to the media. He doesn't even have a Website, and he's promoting a book! He's on Twitter, but it's canned promotion as opposed to personal revelations. Hell, he should have broken the fact that he was bisexual on Twitter the day before his book came out, THAT'S modern publicity:

L.A. Times

P.P.S. Geffen called Henley a malcontent in "History Of The Eagles," which is now on demand on Showtime.