Paul Davis

Induction Year: 2010

Birth Name: Paul Lavon Davis

Birth Date: 04-21-1948

Place of Birth: Meridian, Mississippi

Death Date: 04-22-2008

Place of Death: Meridian, Mississippi

Paul Davis brought a deft touch of blue-eyed soul to pop and country music in the 1970s and '80s as an influential songwriter and a recording artist. He began his career in local Mississippi rock bands such as Six Soul Survivors and the Endless Chain in the mid-1960s. In 1968, he became a staff songwriter in Jackson, Mississippi, at Malaco Records. Several of the label's blues and R&B artists recorded his works.

He was discovered by Ilene Berns, the widow of noted producer-songwriter Bert Berns. She signed him to Bang Records as an artist in 1969.

Between 1970 and 1982, Davis had a string of hits as a singer-songwriter, faring particularly well on the adult contemporary charts with classics such as "Ride 'Em Cowboy," "I Go Crazy," "Sweet Life" and "Do Right." "I Go Crazy" was particularly noteworthy in that it remained on the pop-music charts for 40 consecutive weeks, which is more than double the time that most records spent on the hit parade during that era. Davis was also unusual as an artist-songwriter who produced many of his own hit records. Signing with Arista Records in 1981, he continued his success with "Cool Night" and "'65 Love Affair." Those were his last pop hits as an artist.

He moved to Nashville in 1984 and became a successful country songwriter of the 1980s and 1990s. Davis was not a prolific writer, creating only five or six songs a year. But a strikingly high percentage of them became enormously successful.

In Nashville, his works were particularly favored by Tanya Tucker, Paul Overstreet and Marie Osmond. His "Bop" won a 1985 Country Music Association Single of the Year award for singer Dan Seals. In 1986, Davis was shot while being robbed near Music Row, but survived. Shortly afterward, he signed another recording contract, but chafed at being pigeonholed as a country act. He never issued another album.

His skillful arrangements on his song demo tapes were frequently copied note for note by singing stars and their producers. Ronnie Milsap, for instance, reportedly merely replaced Davis' voice with his own on the Davis demo recording of "Turn That Radio On" to create his hit record of the song.

Not long after being nominated for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for the first time, Paul Davis died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on April 22, 2008, the day after his 60th birthday.

"'65 Love Affair"

Paul Davis1982 #5 adult contemporary, #6 pop,

"Back in Your Arms Again"

(written with Fred Knobloch)

Lorrie Morgan1995 #4 country


(written with Jennifer Kimball)

CMA Single of the Year

Dan Seals1985 #1 country, #10 adult contemporary, #42 pop

"Cool Night"

Paul Davis1981 #2 adult contemporary, #11 pop

"Cry Just a Little"

Paul Davis1980 #36 adult contemporary, #78 pop
Marie Osmond1987 #50 country

"Do Right"

Paul Davis1980 #4 adult contemporary, #23 pop
Take 61996 
Terry McMillan1997 

"Down to My Last Teardrop"

Tanya Tucker1991 #2 country
Paul Davis1992 

"I Go Crazy"

Paul Davis1977 #7 pop, #25 adult contemporary
Lou Rawls1981 
Lee Greenwood1989 #55 country
Will Downing1991 #37 R&B
Barry Manilow1996 
Steve Azar1996 
Freddie Jackson2005 

"I Just Wanna Keep Together"

Paul Davis1970 #34 adult contemporary, #51 pop

"Just Another Love"

Tanya Tucker1986 #1 country

"Love Me Like You Used To"

(written with Bobby Gene Emmons)

Johnny Cash1985 
Tanya Tucker1987 #2 country

"Love Sure Is a Powerful Thing"

(written with George Soule)

Eddie Houston1969 
Arthur Conley1969 

"Meet Me in Montana"

Marie Osmond & Dan Seals1985 #1 country

"One Love at a Time"

(written with Paul Overstreet)

Tanya Tucker1986 #3 country

"Ride 'Em Cowboy"

Paul Davis1974 #4 adult contemporary, #23 pop, #47 country
David Allan Coe1983 #48 country
Juice Newton1984 #32 country
The Remingtons1993 

"Rollin' in My Sleep"

The Box Tops1968 


Paul Davis1976 #31 adult contemporary, #35 pop

"Sweet Life"

(written with Susan Collins)

Paul Davis1978 #7 adult contemporary, #17 pop, #85 country
Marie Osmond & Paul Davis1988 #47 country

"Turn That Radio On"

(written with Archie Jordan)

Ronnie Milsap1991 #4 country
Second Nature2002 

"You're Still New to Me""

(written with Paul Overstreet)

Marie Osmond & Paul Davis1986 #1 country

Paul Davis

Induction Year: 2010