Patti Smith Reportedly Threatens To Bolt Arista

Aretha Franklin also expresses support for label chief Clive Davis.

Punk pioneer Patti Smith and soul icon Aretha Franklin are threatening to leave Arista Records if 66-year-old label chief Clive Davis is ousted by parent company BMG, the Los Angeles Times reported. "If Clive leaves, I leave," Franklin said, according to the Times. BMG, Arista's parent company, is reportedly seeking Davis' retirement when his contract runs out June 30. According to published reports, the German company has a mandatory retirement age of 60 and is upset with Davis' failure to groom a successor. BMG Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick released a statement Nov. 17 expressing his desire to "do right" by Davis.