Mac Davis

  • Country pop singer, songwriter and guitarist born Morris Mac Davis in 1942 in Lubbock Texas. Died in 2020 following heart surgery.
  • After high school, Davis moved to Atlanta to live with his mother. He started a rock group named The Zots, and they recorded 2 singles. In 1962, he got a job at a regional manager for a record label, which started his career in the music business. In the late 60s, he worked at Boots Enterprises in Los Angeles, the record label owned by Nancy Sinatra. He started writing songs and he also was a session musician for Sinatra.
  • Davis’ initial fame came with his songwriting. In the late 60s, his songs were recorded by Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs, Lou Rawls and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. Elvis Presley discovered several of his songs, and a couple became major hits – In The Ghetto and A Little Less Conversation. With the success of these songs, Elvis requested more, and he asked Davis to arrange the music for Elvis’ first television special.
  • In 1970, Davis started a career as a country music performer. He was signed to a record label, and his debut album, Song Painter, was released. It did not sell well, and his follow-up album, I Believe In Music, also was disappointing. The song I Believe In Music was covered by the soft rock band Gallery in 1972, taking the song to #22 on the Hot 100. Eventually, it became Davis’ signature song – he closed all of his concerts with the song.
  • His breakthrough came with his third album – Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me. Released in 1972, it was certified platinum, driven by the title track, which reached #1 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the country chart. It was the beginning of remarkable success in songs that crossed over on both the country and pop charts.
  • Davis released 7 more albums in the 70s, scoring another platinum seller with Stop and Smell the Roses in 1974. The title track to that album peaked at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #9 on the Hot 100. Another song on the album, One Hell of a Woman, reached #11 on the Hot 100. His All the Love In the World album included the crossover hit Rock ‘N’ Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life). 
  • In 1974, Davis was given a television variety show on NBC. The Mac Davis Show aired for 3 years, 35 episodes. It was very popular, and it led to 11 television specials from 1975 to 1983, most of which were centered around the Christmas holiday. He had a lengthy career in acting – he had roles in 19 films (most notably, North Dallas Forty in 1979) and in 14 television shows (in addition to his specials). Additionally, he starred in the leading role in the Broadway and national touring production of The Will Rogers Follies from 1992 to 1994.
  • By the early 80s, his songs were no longer charting highly on the pop charts, but he had some of his biggest country hits. His song Hard to Be Humble became a fan favorite, and other country hits included Let’s Keep It That Way, Texas in My Rearview Mirror and Hooked On Music. His final top 10 country hit was in 1985, with I Never Made Love (Til I Made It With You). 
  • Davis released 19 studio albums and 38 singles in his career. Even into the new millennium, he had songwriting success. He co-wrote a song on electronic music artist Avicii’s debut album in 2013, and he wrote the hook for the chorus of Bruno Mars’ 2013 hit Young Girls, earning him a BMI Pop Award in 2015. Here is Davis performing his biggest hit, Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me on The Midnight Special in 1972. Ahh…Yacht Rock before Yacht Rock was invented!

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