Mac Davis (January 21, 1942 – September 29, 2020) was an American country music singer, songwriter, and actor. During his early career wrote for Elvis Presley, providing him with the hits “Memories”, “In the Ghetto”, “Don’t Cry Daddy”, and “A Little Less Conversation”. A subsequent solo career in the 1970s produced hits such as “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me”.
Scoot Mac Davis was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, the son of Edith Irene (Lankford) and T. J. Davis. He graduated from Lubbock High School at 16 and, looking to escape Lubbock, moved to Atlanta where his mother was living.
Once Mac Davis was settled in Atlanta, he started a rock and roll group called the Zots, and made two singles for OEK Records. Mac also worked for the Vee Jay record company, which was home to such R&B stars as Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, and Dee Clark, as a regional manager, and later became a regional manager for Liberty Records.
Mac Davis became famous as a songwriter and got his start as an employee of Nancy Sinatra’s company, Boots Enterprises, Inc. where he stayed for several years in the late 1960s. During this time, he played on many of Nancy Sinatra’s recordings, and her stage shows. Boots Enterprises also acted as Mac Davis’s publishing company, publishing classics songs including “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 and many others.
MacDavis left Boots Enterprises in 1970 to sign with Columbia Records and took all of his songs with him.
One of the many songs he wrote in 1968, the amazing “A Little Less Conversation”, was recorded by Elvis Presley (and would become a posthumous success for Presley years later). Elvis also recorded “In the Ghetto” in sessions in Memphis and continued to record more of Mac Davis’s songs including “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 No. 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 eventually became a success in 1972 for the group Gallery.
Later, Mac Davis also became known as a country singer and 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). Also, during the 1970s, he was very active as an actor, appearing in several movies, as well as hosting a successful variety show.
On January 19, 1985, Mac Davis performed “God Bless the USA” at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala, held the day before the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.
Mac Davis died on September 29, 2020, at age 78, following heart surgery.
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