He spent his childhood years with his sister Linda, living and working at the former College Courts, an efficiency apartment complex owned by his father, T. J. Davis, located at the intersection of College Avenue and 5th Street. Davis describes his father, who was divorced from Davis's mother, as "very religious, very strict, and very stubborn." Though Davis was physically small, he had a penchant for getting into fistfights.
"In those days, it was all about football, rodeo, and fistfights. Oh, man, I got beat up so much while I was growing up in Lubbock," Davis said in a March 2, 2008, interview with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper. "I was 5 feet, 9 inches, and weighed 125 pounds. I joined Golden Gloves, but didn't do good even in my (own) division." After he finished high school, Davis moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where his mother lived, to get out of Lubbock. Once he was settled in Atlanta, he organized a rock and roll group called the Zots, and made two singles for OEK Records, managed and promoted by OEK owner Oscar Kilgo.
Davis also worked for the Vee Jay record company (home to such R&B stars as Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, and Dee Clark) as a regional manager, and later also served as a regional manager for Liberty Records. Davis became famous as a songwriter and got his start as an employee of Nancy Sinatra's company, Boots Enterprises, Inc. Davis was with Boots for several years in the late 1960s. During his time there, he played on many of Sinatra's recordings, and she worked him into her stage shows. Boots Enterprises also acted as Davis's publishing company, publishing songs such as "In the Ghetto", "Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife", "Home", "It's Such a Lonely Time of Year", and "Memories", which were recorded by Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, B.
J. Thomas, and many others. Davis left Boots Enterprises in 1970 to sign with Columbia Records, taking all of his songs with him. One of the songs he wrote in 1968, called "A Little Less Conversation", was recorded by Elvis Presley (and would become a posthumous success for Presley years later). Presley recorded "In the Ghetto" in sessions in Memphis.
According to maverick record producer Jimmy Bowen, "Ghetto" was originally pitched to Sammy Davis, Jr. Mac, guitar in hand, played the song in a studio, with onlookers such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and other members of the black activist community. Mac Davis, the only white man in the room at the time, eventually told Bowen, "I don't know whether to thank ya, or to kill ya." Mac Davis eventually recorded the tune after Presley's version became a success, and was released in a Ronco In Concert compilation in 1975.
It was later released on a campy Rhino Records Golden Throats compilation in 1991. The song became a success for Presley and he continued to record more of Davis's material, such as "Memories", "Don't Cry Daddy", and "Clean Up Your Own Backyard". Bobby Goldsboro also recorded some of Davis's songs, including "Watching Scotty Grow", which became a #1 Adult Contemporary success for Goldsboro in 1971. Other artists who recorded his material included Vikki Carr, O.C.
Smith, and Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. "I Believe in Music", often considered to be Davis's signature song, was recorded by several artists (including Marian Love, B.J. Thomas, Louis Jordan, Perry Como, Helen Reddy, and Davis himself) before it finally became a success in 1972 for the group Gallery. Later, he also became known as a country singer. During the 1970s, many of his songs "crossed over", successfully scoring on both the country and popular music charts, including "Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me" (a number one Grammy-nominated success), "One Hell of a Woman" (pop no.
11), and "Stop and Smell the Roses" (a no. 9 pop hit). Also, during the 1970s, he was very active as an actor, appearing in several movies, as well as hosting a successful variety show. Davis soon decided to pursue a career of his own in country music; he was signed to Columbia Records in 1970. After several years of enriching the repertoires of other artists, his big success came two years after signing with Columbia.
He topped the Country and Pop charts with the song "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me". It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1972. Some of Davis's lyrics invoked overtly sexual relationships. In the song "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me", he pleads with a woman not to become too enamored with him, because he does not want to commit to a full-time relationship. Other successful songs, such as "Naughty Girl" and "Baby Spread Your Love on Me", contained similar lyrics. In 1974, Davis was awarded the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year award.
Some of Davis's other successes include the songs "Stop and Smell the Roses" (a number one Adult Contemporary success in 1974) (pop no. 9), "One Hell of a Woman" (pop no. 11), "Rock'n'Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)" (pop no. 15), and "Burnin' Thing" (pop no.
53). At the end of the 1970s, he moved to Casablanca Records, which was best known at the time for its successes with disco star Donna Summer and rock'n'roll band Kiss. His first success for the company in 1980 was the novelty song "It's Hard To Be Humble", a light-hearted look at how popularity and good looks could go to one's head. The song became his first Country music top 10 and a rare top 30 hit in the UK.
(It was translated into Dutch as "Het is moeilijk bescheiden te blijven" and became a hit for the Dutch singer Peter Blanker in 1981). Later that year, he also had another top 10 song with "Let's Keep It That Way". In November, "Rock'n'Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)" was played by KHJ in Los Angeles as its last song before it switched from Top 40 to Country music. He achieved other successful songs, such as "Texas In My Rear View Mirror" and "Hooked on Music", which became his biggest Country music success in 1981, going to no.
2. In 1985, he recorded his last top 10 country music success with the song "I Never Made Love (Till I Made Love With You)". Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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