One of the music industry’s biggest bashes is Clive Davis’ pre-Grammys party. The legendary music exec’s shindig never fails to attract A-list talent, and this year’s edition was no exception. Performers included Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Janelle Monae, and Mumford & Sons, while Cher was on hand to honor the achievements of David Geffen with an Industry Icon Award.
One assumes Davis is much too busy to be preoccupied with such newfangled things as Facebook. But only a few hours prior to last evening’s event, some of Davis’ dirty laundry was aired out on the social network by Jonas “Joker” Berggren, one of the founding members of Ace Of Base. In the late ’90s, the Swedish quartet was signed to Arista Records, a label that Davis famously founded in 1974 and headed until late 2000.
The decade-old drama, as Berggren shared yesterday, surrounds a song called “Everytime It Rains,” written by Billy Steinberg, Rick Nowels, and Maria Vidal. Davis originally intended the ballad for Annie Lennox (also on the Arista Records roster), a curious choice since Lennox historically records only her own material (and was just coming off a covers album, Medusa). After she declined, Davis decided it was destined for Ace of Base’s third album, though the foursome had similarly been successful with their own tunes.
I’ll let the Berggren’s Facebook post speak for itself (excuse his misspellings). Back then, his siblings Jenny and Linn were Ace of Base’s singers, and by this time, Linn had ceded lead vocal duties to Jenny:
Giving in to Davis’ demand, Linn recorded a single take of “Everytime It Rains,” produced by Cutfather & Joe, which was all he needed. Ace Of Base’s new album was even to be titled after the song, an indication of just how much Davis’ plans hinged on the track. However, prior to the album’s release, its name was changed to Cruel Summer, after the Bananarama cover — another label demand — that served as the set’s first single. “Cruel Summer” climbed to #10, but the album met a tepid response. “Everytime It Rains” reached just #22 in the UK, and never got off the ground here.
But don’t think Davis was done with trying to wring out a hit from Ace Of Base’s “Everytime It Rains.” Two years later, he had the ballad remixed by Brian Rawling and Mark Taylor (Cher’s “Believe”), taking an Executive Producer credit. The upbeat makeover (aka the Metro Radio Mix) was pegged as the lead single for the U.S. version of Ace Of Base’s Greatest Hits, but despite Davis’ strong-arm tactics and additional investment, “Everytime It Rains” remained a total drip. Having fulfilled its four-album contract, Ace Of Base was dropped by Arista.
Still, even knowing the song’s sad, dramatic history and ultimate fate, the dancetastic take of “Everytime It Rains” is the one I first heard and still adore. Despite Davis’ behind-the-scenes machinations, it deserved to be a hit: