This week Jim Adams has prompted us with the theme of User’s Choice for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday.
I’m so happy this was User’s Choice this week, but I would have found a way to incorporate the actor, singer and songwriter, Mr. Mac Davis who had many hits over the span of his 58 year career. This is more about the man than any one song. I’ve featured a lot of songs, but couldn’t do all the songs he wrote and had hits with. Just couldn’t do them all! Mac Davis had a broad range of talent that touched many lives.
Mac Davis was born Scott Morris “Mac” Davis on January 21, 1942 in Lubbock, Texas & grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, he passed away this week at the age of 78 on September 29, 2020 after heart surgery in Nashville, Tennessee! May his soul rest in peace! He was quite the character and could have had a sole career as a stand-up comedian. From 1974-1976, he had his own variety show on NBC called The Mac Davis Show where he would have musical guests on plus comedic skits. It became very popular because Davis was considered a sex symbol with his song “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me”. The song was Davis’ first #1 hit as a performer on the U.S. Pop charts in September 1972. The chauvinistic lyrics to this song didn’t stop it from becoming popular and over the years, Mac Davis’ humble personality earned him to be one of the most charming and likeable human beings in show business.
“It’s Hard to Be Humble became an international hit after its release in March 1980. Reached #3 in New Zealand, #10 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart & #4 on the Canada RPM Top Singles Chart. Below, Davis is singing with Kenny Rogers live.
This song is close to my heart as it was one of the songs I would sing (and I can’t carry a tune) while doing field day in the barracks while in boot camp. I always volunteered to clean the head (bathrooms) because I was able to get away from everyone, do what needed to be done & the whole area was sparkling upon inspection. It was my alone time!
My favorite segments of the Mac Davis Show as a 7-10 year old kid was a popular one where Davis would take suggestions from his audience and create a song on the spot. This was my first time ever seeing improv and it amazed me. Davis wrote a lot of songs that never came to fruition. His humor was quite contagious as he sits with his audience to share with them some of his unfinished works in the video above.
Davis found fame as a songwriter with Nancy Sinatra’s company, Boots Enterprises, Inc in the last 1960’s. He played on many of Sinatra’s recordings and later in her stage shows. Boots Enterprises acted as Davis’ publishing company, publishing songs like “In the Ghetto”, “Friend, Lover, Woman Wife”, “Home”, “It’s Such a Lonely Time of Year” and “Memories”. These songs were recorded by Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, B.J. Thomas and many others. In 1970, Davis left Boots Enterprises to sign with Columbia Records, taking all his songs with him.
Davis had a huge hit when Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” exploded in England. Davis was the last to know. The story is at the beginning of the video below.
Davis credits Presley for the success of his career. In 1969, “In the Ghetto” which was originally titled “The Vicious Cycle” was released by Presley and became a major hit. It was one of several songs written for Presley’s 1969 comeback album. Davis had been working on it for many years but it never was completed until it came together as people were moving out of the urban areas to live in the suburbs in the late 1960’s. Ward Baker, Executive Director of The Tennessean interviews Mac Davis in 2016 and Davis gives an interest account of how “In the Ghetto” came about.
In 2007, Lisa Marie Presley recorded “In the Ghetto” as a duet with her father to raise money for the Presley Charitable Foundation. The song was released to ITunes and is my favorite rendition of the song.
“Memories”, another hit written for Presley in 1968 by Davis for his 1969 comeback TV special that aired on NBC on December 3, 1968. Davis later recalled to Billboard, “They had asked for a song about looking back over the years, and oddly enough, I had to write it in one night. I stayed up all night at Billy Strange’s house in Los Angeles. He had a little office set up in his garage. I wrote it right there”. In 2019, Davis sings “Memories” with recordings of Presley on an All-Star Comeback Special Tribute hosted by Blake Shelton on NBC. The special lives on my DVR and I watch it from time to time. For Elvis Presley, Memories hit #1 in 8 countries, but topped the charts at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Mac Davis made his film debut in 1979 opposite Nick Nolte in the football film, North Dallas Forty and was listed as one of 12 “Promising New Actors of 1979” by Screen World magazine. Over the years, he played in many movies, performed on television shows and hosted an episode of The Muppet Show where he performed “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me”, “It’s Hard To Be Humble” and “I Believe in Music”.
Mac Davis did believe in music and entertainment in general! He was one of a kind and will truly be missed!