Photo: Danny ClinchA forthcoming PBS documentary on David Geffen boasts an impressive list of rockers and other celebrities who agreed to talk about the famously press-shy entertainment-industry mogul and Asylum Records founder.
Neil Young, Don Henley, Elton John, Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Cher are among the stars who will be featured in Inventing David Geffen, a new installment of PBS' ongoing American Masters series that's set to premiere on November 20. One music legend you won't see in the film, however, is Bob Dylan, who was briefly signed to Asylum in the mid 1970s.
American Masters creator Susan Lacy tells The Hollywood Reporter that she hounded Young and Henley to get them to appear, but thought twice about pursuing Dylan -- even though she had called him once a month for 14 months to get him to agree to do No Direction Home, the Martin Scorsese-directed 2005 American Masters documentary devoted to him.
"He just doesn't do these things," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. But it may be more than general reluctance to do press that would have kept Dylan away from the new film.
Not only did Geffen and Dylan have a falling out when, after two albums with Asylum, Dylan returned to Columbia Records in 1974, but, according to Howard Sounes' 2002 Dylan biography, Down the Highway, it was Geffen who introduced Dylan's first wife, Sara, to famed divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson in 1977 when the couple was breaking up. "I want to send someone over to you," Sounes reports Geffen telling Mitchelson. "I'd like you to take good care of her. Her name is Sara Dylan."
Geffen is credited with helping propel the careers of many artists, including Browne, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Guns N' Roses. He also infamously sued Young in 1983, when the folk-rocker was signed to the Geffen Records label, for releasing albums "musically uncharacteristic of [his] previous recordings."
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