Paul Davis

1948-2008

A lifetime of music

 

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On Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008, Paul Davis, singer and writer of classic songs like "I Go Crazy", "Sweet Life" and "Cool Night", died at Rush Foundation Hospital in his home town of Meridian, MS, of complications from a heart attack. Paul had been taken ill the previous day - his 60th birthday.

Fans around the world were shocked to learn of Paul's death. While not professionally active in music for some years, he had been taking an increased interest in recording at home, posting some new compositions to the Macjams website. Paul had also been in contact with members of the Yahoo group set up to celebrate his music.

Click here to visit Yahoo Group

Over a period of several years, I had the pleasure of being in regular correspondence with Paul. In one of his most recent emails to me, he described his renewed love of making music...

I hope all is well with you. Just wanted to tell you that I spend a little time at a site I found. It's a music site that is sort of based on the music software that I use. I post some music there under the name "droop." No one there really knows much about me because I didn't do a bio. Anyhow it also seems to have a lot of folks from the UK.It's kinda helping me to wanna make music and I'm having fun doing it. I'm really glad you like the new songs......I only have a couple of other partial things there now. I do think you might enjoy the site, some really nice people, some good music....a little bit of everything. I promise to do the phone thing sometime soon

The reference to "the phone thing" concerns a long-standing plan - sadly never realised - for me to conduct a career-spanning interview with Paul, expanding upon many of the areas covered in this website. However, thanks to our email exchanges, and the help of fellow lovers of Paul's music, this website is a near-complete overview of his entire career.

It is a matter of sad irony that Paul's catalogue of recordings was - after many years' silence - finally growing again, with his posts to Macjams . Two new songs, "You Ain't Sweet Enough" and "Today" - the latter sure now to stand as a poignant coda to an extraordinary career - showed the same sureness of touch and gift for perfect pop melodies. It was a career in writing and recording that encompassed soul, pop and country music, all delivered with the same qualities of melody, warmth and humanity.

Paul Lavon Davis was born in 1948 in Meridian, Mississippi. He became a major player on his home-town music scene around 1966 in the well-loved local bands, the Six Soul Survivors, later the Endless Chain. This site reveals in detail for the first time the fascinating stories behind two rare 45s cut by these groups - you'll find it all in the "US Singles" and "Memories" sections.

Paul went on to attract attention in 1968 as a songwriter at the legendary soul label, Malaco, based at Jackson, MS (The CD box set, "The Last Soul Company", provides a fascinating insight into this part of his career).

Signed as a performer by Ilene Berns to the famous Bang label in 1969, Davis ran up a string of hits throughout the seventies and, on Arista, the early eighties.

After giving up recording, Paul wrote numerous songs for other performers, mainly in the field of country music.

A planned album on the Bang II label in 1998 failed to materialise. However, Paul and his old musical partner, Ed Seay, did produce one album for Bang II, the fine "All I Ever Wanted" by Monty Holmes.

Paul, who survived a shooting in Nashville in 1986, returned to live in the Meridian area, and - happily - was well aware in the latter years of his life just how much his music meant to so many people.

I am pleased and proud that this website perhaps played a small part in reawakening interest in Paul's exceptional work. He will be much missed, but the musical legacy will live on.

David Jennings

England

January 25, 2009