R. Kelly's "Star Spangled Banner" Highlight of Clive Davis Event

Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:25pm EST
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By Shirley Halperin

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Matthew Morrison took up the mandolin for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the annual night-before Grammy party on Saturday.

In introducing Clive Davis, producer David Foster remarked how the legendary music executive's pre-Grammy gala, was a more coveted ticket than the Grammy Awards themselves.

"Sorry Neil," Foster cracked, looking in the direction of Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who simply shrugged. After all, Foster was right.

More than 900 people are invited to the annual sit-down dinner, which has been held since 1976, but just as many clamor for a seat every year. Two nights earlier at an event held at the home of Geffen President Ron Fair, Britney Spears' manager Larry Rudolph remarked that he had to campaign for a ticket.

Looking around the room and seeing the likes of company chiefs Jeffrey Katzenberg, Les Moonves (CBS), Lucian Grainge (Universal Music Group), Jimmy Iovine (Interscope Geffen A&M), Doug Morris (UMG), LA Reid (Island Def Jam), Roger Faxon (EMI) Rob Stringer (Columbia-Epic) and Barry Weiss (RCA-Jive), it's easy to understand why.

Of course, the Clive Davis party is all about star power and there were plenty of those in attendance as well including Whitney Houston, Cher, Barry Manilow, Warren Beatty, Prince, Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Usher.

Representing the rock contingent: all five members of the Foo Fighters, and the Grammy-nominated band Mumford & Sons, who'll be joined by Bob Dylan at the Grammy Awards on Sunday and were the first to take the stage at the Clive Davis event.

The stellar performance of "Little Lion Man" had people buzzing early on, but it was just the beginning of what's typically a five-plus hour affair (this year's fete let out just after midnight).   Continued...