I cannot help but think of life in the 1970s whenever I hear the music of Paul Davis. His tunes still play in my head as I think back of those years. Many of Davis song are still played today on the many soft rock stations. His career encompassed soul, country and pop music, and he wrote many memorable country music hits.
Paul Davis has taken his Final Taxi at 60.
Born Paul Lavon Davis on April 21, 1948, he became 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 at Jackson, MS.
Ilene Berns, widow of Bert Berns (the man who signed Van Morrison and Neil Diamond) signed Davis to Bang Records in 1969, and in 1970, released a cover of The Jarmels’ hit song “A Little Bit of Soap”, reaching #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, which garnered a Top 40 for the title track. The same song also became a hit for Juice Newton in 1984.
Davis had his first American Top 10 single with the ballad “I Go Crazy,” which peaked at #7 in 1978. “I Go Crazy” spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time set the single-song record for most consecutive weeks on the chart in the rock era. The corresponding album Singer of Songs – Teller of Tales was a modest success, peaking at #82 on the Billboard pop album chart. Nother song from that LP was a hit called “Sweet Life.” He was the last artist active on the Bang Records label when it folded in 1981.
In 1981 he signed with Arista Records and had two more Top 20 singles, “Cool Night” (which rose to #11) and “’65 Love Affair” (which rose to #6). Davis retired from making records, except for two duet singles that went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The first was in 1986 with Marie Osmond on “You’re Still New To Me” while the second was in 1988 was a collaboration with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet on “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love”.
Although Davis had ultimately retired from the music industry, he was in the process of sitting down and writing more music at the time of his death.
The beauty of his music has stood the test of time. Paul Davis’ songs can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as “The Karate Kid,” “About Last Night…,” “Texasville” and “24 Hour Party People.”