Paul Davis (singer)

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Paul Davis
Birth namePaul Lavon Davis
Born(1948-04-21)April 21, 1948
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedApril 22, 2008(2008-04-22) (aged 60)
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
GenresBlue-eyed soul, country rock, pop rock, soft rock
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards
Years active1958–1988
LabelsBang, Arista
Associated acts

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. His most successful 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 1982's "'65 Love Affair", which at No. 6 is his highest-charting single. Another pop hit, "Cool Night", was released in 1981. In the mid-1980s, he also had two country No. 1 hits as a guest vocalist on songs by Marie Osmond and Tanya Tucker.


Paul 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 "A Little Bit of Soap", reaching No. 52 on the Billboard pop chart. 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 January 18, 1975. (The same song became a Top 40 Country hit for Juice Newton in 1984.) Davis also reached No. 35 in September 1976 with "Superstar", a tribute song not related to any of the 1971 hits by that name.

Davis had his first American Top 10 single with the ballad "I Go Crazy," which after 30 weeks on the Hot 100 peaked at No. 7 on March 18, 1978. "I Go Crazy" spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time set the record for most weeks on the chart. The follow-up, "Sweet Life", also did well, peaking at No. 17. On May 17, 1980, his gospel-tinged "Do Right" peaked at No. 23, and Casey Kasem noted the religious aspects of this song, along with other songs before it, on that day's edition of American Top 40. Davis was active on Bang Records when the label folded in the early 1980s.[1]

After one more album on the Bang label, Davis signed with Arista Records in 1981 and scored two more hits, "Cool Night" (which in February 1982 reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart) and "'65 Love Affair" (a Top 10 hit on both charts). His Arista debut album spawned a third hit with a 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, had never been reissued on any CD release until Wounded Bird reissued the Best of Paul Davis compilation in 2011. Davis retired from making records for a time, except for two duets that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. 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 his 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. Davis recorded a duet with Marsha Morgan called "Looking for a Light" which was well received regionally in the southeast. Before his death, Davis had returned to singing and songwriting by recording two songs, "You Ain't Sweet Enough" and "Today". They have not been released.[citation needed] 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 in future films. Additionally, Davis was very versatile with sampling and using the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI.[citation needed]

Many of his songs, including his best known hits, are owned by Paul McCartney through his MPL Publishing company.

Personal life[edit]

Paul 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.[2]

Davis was an avid golfer,[3] and was also an avid billiards enthusiast. As a member of Music City Amateur Billiard Tour in Nashville, he was competitive in the late 1990s.[citation needed] Additionally, his father was a preacher.[4]

Davis was once married to Pamela Gayle Jay Davis, who enjoyed a brief career with Bang Records/Web IV Music in Atlanta, where he was writing and recording his songs. When their only son Jonathan was born, Pamela left her job in the music world to dedicate the following 38 years to his care, spending every day seeing to his special needs. Pamela died on March 20, 2017.[5]

Davis died of a heart attack at the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, on April 22, 2008, a day after his 60th birthday.[6]


1970–1971: Fender Rhodes electric piano, Yamaha grand piano, RMI Electra, Farfisa Organ, Hammond B-3 organ, Moog synthesizer, EMS Synth

1972–1974: Minimoog, ARP 2500, ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey Mark 1, Moog Opus 6, Hammond B-3 organ, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha grand piano, EMS VCS3 Synthi

1975–1976: Minimoog, ARP 2500, ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey Mark 1, Korg MiniPops drum machine, Polymoog, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Solina, EMS VCS3 Synthi

1977–1979: Minimoog, Polymoog, Yamaha CS-80, Korg MiniPops drum machine, EMS VCS3, EMS Vocoder 2000, ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey, Yamaha grand piano, Hammond B-3 organ. (After 1978: Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 & 10, Fairlight CMI, Fender Rhodes, Solina and ARP Rhodes Chroma synthesizer.)

1980–1982: Fairlight CMI, Oberheim 8-voice, OB-X, OB-8, Yamaha CS-80, Yamaha grand piano, Minimoog, Polymoog, Memorymoog, Moog Source, ARP 2600, EMS Vocoder 2000, NED (New England Digital) Synclavier, LINN (Roger Linn) drum machine, E-MU Emulator, Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 & 10, Roland Jupiter 8, TR-808 drum machine, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B-3 organ.



Year Album Peak chart positions
US US Country CAN
1970 A Little Bit of Paul Davis
1972 Paul Davis
1974 Ride 'Em Cowboy 148 19
1976 Southern Tracks & Fantasies
1977 Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales 82 77
1980 Paul Davis 173
1981 Cool Night 52
1982 The Best of Paul Davis
1993 Very Best of Paul Davis – I Go Crazy
1995 Greatest Hits
1999 Sweet Life: His Greatest Hit Singles
2008 Super Hits
2011 The Best of Paul Davis (expanded version of 1982 LP)
2015 The Very Best of Paul Davis (Varèse Sarabande compilation)

NOTE: All albums are available in CD format


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1970 "A Little Bit of Soap" 52 27 60 16 A Little Bit of Paul Davis
"I Just Wanna Keep It Together" 51 34 58 47
"Can't You"[8] 118 Single only
1973 "Boogie Woogie Man" 68 Paul Davis
1974 "Ride 'Em Cowboy" 23 4 47 30 6 49 Ride 'Em Cowboy
1975 "Keep Our Love Alive" 90 Single only
1976 "Thinking of You" 45 31 Southern Tracks & Fantasies
"Superstar" 35 31 53
1977 "I Go Crazy" 7 25 4 62 Singer of Songs – Teller of Tales
1978 "Darlin'" (with Susan Collins) 51 37
"Sweet Life" 17 7 85 15
"Cry Just a Little" 78 36 Paul Davis
1980 "Do Right" 23 4 64
1981 "Cool Night" 11 2 34 78 23[9] Cool Night
1982 "'65 Love Affair" 6 5 11 71 13[10]
"Love or Let Me Be Lonely" 40 11

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1987 "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

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Year Song Soundtrack Additional information
1984 "(It Takes) Two to Tango" The Karate Kid
1987 "If We Can Get Through The Night" About Last Night...


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn Presents: The Billboard Hot 100 charts, The Seventies; Joel Whitburn's Top Pop singles: 1955–2010
  2. ^ "Singer Paul Davis shot". The Gainesville Sun. July 31, 1986. p. 2A.
  3. ^ Chris Brennaman (April 2, 2008). "Remembering Paul Davis". Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  4. ^ Casey Kasem, "American Top 40", January 21, 1978
  5. ^ "Pamela Gayle Jay Davis Obituary". The Meridian Star. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Livingston, Brian (April 23, 2008). "Recording star Paul Davis dies Tuesday at age 60". The Meridian Star.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 83. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ "Can't You" at Discogs
  9. ^ NZ OFFICIAL TOP 40 SINGLES, 2–8 May 1982
  10. ^ NZ OFFICIAL TOP 40 SINGLES, 22–28 August 1982

External links[edit]