Paul Davis (singer)
|Birth name||Paul Lavon Davis|
April 21, 1948|
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||April 22, 2008
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
|Genres||Blue-eyed soul, country, pop rock, soft rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, piano|
|Years active||1958-1987 (retired), 1988 |
|Associated acts||Tanya Tucker
Paul Lavon Davis (April 21, 1948 – April 22, 2008) was an American singer and songwriter, best known for his radio hits and solo career which started worldwide in 1970. His career encompassed soul, country and pop music. Typically, the slower the tempo of a Davis record, the longer it took to reach its peak position. Arguably his two best songs are 1977's "I Go Crazy", a No. 7 pop hit which once held the record for the longest chart run on the Billboard Hot 100, and the No. 6 "'65 Love Affair", his highest-charting pop hit. In the mid-1980s, he also had two country No. 1 hits as a guest vocalist on songs by Marie Osmond and Tanya Tucker, and wrote singles for other country singers.
Davis was a member of a local group called the Six Soul Survivors around 1966 and later in another group called the Endless Chain. In 1968 he was a writer for Malaco Records, based in Jackson, Mississippi. Ilene Berns, widow of Bert Berns, signed Davis to Bang Records in 1969, and in 1970, released a cover version of The Jarmels' hit song "A Little Bit of Soap", reaching No. 52 on the Billboard pop charts. His first album, A Little Bit of Paul Davis, was released in 1970. In 1974, he recorded his third album, Ride 'Em Cowboy, and the title track, his first top 40 single, peaked at No. 23 on 18 January 1975. The same song also became a Top 40 Country hit for Juice Newton in 1984. Davis also reached No. 35 with "Superstar", a tribute song not related to any of the 1971 hits by that name, on 25 September 1976.
Davis had his first American Top 10 single with the ballad "I Go Crazy," which after 28 weeks on the Hot 100 peaked at No. 7 on 18 March - 1 April 1978. "I Go Crazy" spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time set the single-song record for most weeks, consecutive or not, on that chart. The follow-up, "Sweet Life", also did well, peaking at No. 4 on the Adult Contemporary chart and No. 17 on the Pop chart. The corresponding album Singer of Songs – Teller of Tales was a modest success, peaking at No. 82 on the Billboard pop album chart. Davis peaked at No. 23 with the gospel-tinged "Do Right" on 17 May 1980. He was the last artist active on the Bang Records label when it folded in 1981.
After one more album on the Bang label, Paul Davis signed with Arista Records in 1981 and scored two more Top 15 singles, "Cool Night" (which in January 1982 reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart) and "'65 Love Affair" (a major Top 10 hit on both Pop and Adult Contemporary charts). His Arista debut album spawned a third hit with Davis' remake of "Love or Let Me Be Lonely". The single contained a third verse of music which was not included on the album version, and despite its top 40 and AC success, this single version has never been reissued on any CD including the various Paul Davis anthologies that have been released on CD, until Wounded Bird reissued the Best of Paul Davis compilation in 2011. Davis retired from making records for a time, except for two duet singles that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The first was in 1986 with Marie Osmond singing "You're Still New to Me" while the second, in 1988, was a collaboration with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet singing "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love". Davis also wrote "Meet Me in Montana," which Paul's friend Dan Seals and Osmond took to No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart in 1985, and "Bop", a solo No. 1 Country hit for Seals in early 1986. Paul recorded a duet with Marsha Morgan called "Looking for a Light" which was well received regionally in the southeast. Paul was not touring at the time and it was generally thought that had he been touring and still supported by a record label the song could have been a national hit.
Before his death on April 22, 2008 (one day after his 60th birthday), Davis had returned to singing and songwriting by recording two songs, "You Ain't Sweet Enough" and "Today." To date these have not been released. Through the years, Davis was heavily influenced by technology. He owned numerous synthesizers and spent a great majority of his spare time at his home composing music that he hoped would be used for inclusion of future films. Additionally, Davis was very versatile with sampling and using the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI.
Davis survived a shooting in Nashville, Tennessee on July 29, 1986. He was leaving a hotel on Music Row with a female companion when an unidentified man walked up, demanded his wallet, and shot him in the abdomen. He died from a heart attack at the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi.
Davis was an avid golfer.
Davis' father was a preacher.
Davis was also an avid pocket billiard enthusiast. As a member of Music City Amateur Billiard Tour in Nashville, he was competitive in the late 1990s.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions|
|1970||A Little Bit of Paul Davis||—||—||—|
|1974||Ride 'Em Cowboy||148||19||—|
|1976||Southern Tracks & Fantasies||—||—||—|
|1977||Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales||82||—||77|
|1982||The Best of Paul Davis||—||—||—|
|1999||Sweet Life: His Greatest Hit Singles||—||—||—|
|2011||The Best of Paul Davis||—||—||—|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US||US AC||US Country||CAN||CAN AC|
|1970||"A Little Bit of Soap"||52||27||—||60||—||A Little Bit of Paul Davis|
|"I Just Wanna Keep It Together"||51||34||—||38||—|
|"Can't You Find Another Way (Of Doing It)"||118||—||—||—||—||Single only|
|1973||"Boogie Woogie Man"||68||—||—||—||—||Paul Davis|
|1974||"Ride 'Em Cowboy"||23||4||47||30||6||Ride 'Em Cowboy|
|1975||"Keep Our Love Alive"||90||—||—||—||—||Single only|
|1976||"Thinking of You"||45||31||—||—||—||Southern Tracks & Fantasies|
|1977||"I Go Crazy"||7||25||—||4||—||Singer of Songs - Teller of Tales|
|"Darlin" (with Susan Collins)||51||—||—||37||—|
|1980||"Do Right"||23||4||—||64||—||Paul Davis|
|"Cry Just a Little"||78||36||—||—||—|
|1981||"Cool Night"||11||2||—||34||—||Cool Night|
|1982||"'65 Love Affair"||6||5||—||11||—|
|"Love or Let Me Be Lonely"||40||11||—||—||—|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1986||"You're Still New to Me"||Marie Osmond||1||1||I Only Wanted You|
|1988||"I Won't Take Less Than Your Love"||Tanya Tucker
(with Paul Overstreet)
|1||10||Love Me Like You Used To|
|"Sweet Life" (re-recording)||Marie Osmond||47||55||All in Love|
- Official page at MySpace
- Paul Davis at the Internet Movie Database
- Complete Paul Davis Discography and Career History
- Paul Davis information at AOL Music
- Paul Davis at Find a Grave
- Interview with Paul Davis
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2009)|
- "Gainesville Sun" newspaper article at the Google News Archive
- "Merced Sun-Star" newspaper article at the Google News Archive
- Casey Kasem, "American Top 40", 21 January 1978