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Mac Davis

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Davis graduated at 16 from Lubbock High School in Lubbock, Texas. He spent his childhood years with his sister Linda, living and working at the former College Courts, an efficiency apartment complex owned by his father, T. J. Davis, located at the intersection of College Avenue and 5th Street. Davis describes his father, who was divorced from Davis' mother, as "very religious, very strict, and very stubborn". Though Davis was physically small, he had a penchant for getting into fistfights. "In those days, it was all about football, rodeo and fistfights. Oh, man, I got beat up so much while I was growing up in Lubbock," Davis said in a March 2, 2008, interview with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper. "I was 5 feet, 9 inches, and weighed 125 pounds. I joined Golden Gloves, but didn't do good even in my (own) division. " After he finished high school, Davis moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where his mother lived, to get out of Lubbock. Once he was settled there, he organized a rock and roll group called the Zots, and made two singles for OEK Records, managed and promoted by OEK owner Oscar Kilgo. Davis also worked for the Vee Jay record company (home to such R&B stars as Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler and Dee Clark) as a regional manager, and later also served as a regional manager for Liberty Records. In the meantime, Davis was also writing songs. One of the songs he wrote in 1968, called "A Little Less Conversation" was recorded by Elvis Presley (and would become a posthumous success for Presley years later). Shortly after, Presley recorded Davis' song "In the Ghetto" in his sessions in Memphis. According to maverick record producer Jimmy Bowen, "Ghetto" was originally pitched to Sammy Davis, Jr. Mac, guitar in hand, played the song in a studio, with onlookers such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and other members of the black activist community. Davis, the only Caucasian man in the room at the time, would eventually tell Bowen, "I don't know whether to thank ya, or to kill ya. " Davis eventually recorded the tune after Presley's version became a success, and was released in a Ronco "In Concert" compilation in 1975. It was later released on a campy Rhino Records "Golden Throats" compilation in 1991. The song became a success for Presley and he continued to record more of Davis' material, such as "Memories" and "Don't Cry Daddy". Bobby Goldsboro also recorded some of Davis's songs, including "Watching Scotty Grow", which became a number one 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 finally became a success in 1972 for the group Gallery.

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