Mac Davis Biography

Scott Davis, 21 January 1942, Lubbock, Texas, USA. Davis grew up with a love of country music but turned to rock ‘n’ roll in 1955 when he saw Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly on the same show, an event referred to in his 1980 song ‘Texas In My Rear View Mirror’. Davis, who was already writing songs, learned the guitar and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he ‘majored in beer and rock ‘n’ roll’. Davis married when he was 20 and his son, Scotty, became the subject of several songs including ‘Watching Scotty Grow’, recorded by Bobby Goldsboro and Anthony Newley. In the early 60s Davis took administrative jobs with Vee Jay Records and Liberty Records and made several unsuccessful records, including a revival of the Drifters’ ‘Honey Love’; much of this early work was collected in a 1984 compilation, inaccurately called 20 Golden Songs. A parody of Bob Dylan, ‘I Protest’, was produced by Joe South.

Davis wrote ‘The Phantom Strikes Again’, which was recorded by Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs, and, in 1967, he had his first chart success when Lou Rawls recorded ‘You’re Good For Me’. ‘Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife’ and ‘Daddy’s Little Man’ were both recorded by O.C. Smith. Davis wrote ‘Memories’ and ‘Nothingsville’ for Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback television special, and Presley’s renaissance continued with Davis’ social commentary ‘In The Ghetto’. Presley also recorded ‘Don’t Cry, Daddy’, inspired by Scotty telling Davis not to be upset by television footage of the Vietnam war, ‘Clean Up Your Own Back Yard’, ‘Charro’ and ‘A Little Less Conversation’. ‘Something’s Burning’ was a hit for Kenny Rogers And The First Edition, while Gallery made the US charts with the much-recorded ‘I Believe In Music’. Davis wrote the songs for the Glen Campbell movie Norwood, including ‘Everything A Man Could Ever Need’. Davis’ second marriage was to 18-year-old Sarah Barg in 1971.

His first album, named after Glen Campbell’s description of him, Song Painter, was full of good material but his voice was limited and the album was bathed in strings. Davis topped the US charts in 1972 with the pleasant but inconsequential ‘Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me’, its success ironically being due to the publicity created by angry feminists. Davis says, ‘The record sounded arrogant but I was really saying, “don’t get involved with me because I don’t deserve it.”’ Davis also had US success with ‘One Hell Of A Woman’, ‘Stop And Smell The Roses’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)’ and ‘Forever Lovers’. Rolling Stone magazine, disliking his pop-country hits, claimed that Davis had ‘done more to set back the cause of popular music in the 70s than any other figure’. The curly-haired golfer often wrote of his love for his wife but in 1975 she left him for a short marriage to Glen Campbell. Davis’ own career has included playing Las Vegas showrooms and parts in the movies North Dallas Forty, Cheaper To Keep Her and The Sting II. ‘You’re My Bestest Friend’, an obvious nod to Don Williams’ success, was a US country hit in 1981 and ‘I Never Made Love (Till I Made Love To You)’ was on the US country charts for six months in 1985. His witty ‘It’s Hard To Be Humble’ has become Max Bygraves’ closing number. Davis chose to retire in 1989 but after intensive treatment for alcoholism he eventually resumed his career with a new album in 1994. Davis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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