Mac Davis was a singer-songwriter who had a No. 1 hit in 1972 with “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” and wrote hit songs for other artists including Elvis Presley’s (1935 – 1977) “In the Ghetto.”
- Died: September 29, 2020 (Who else died on September 29?)
- Details of death: Died following heart surgery at the age of 78.
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Country and pop stardom
Davis had success as a songwriter before his recording career took off. In addition to “In the Ghetto,” he wrote songs for Presley including “Memories” and “A Little Less Conversation” – which he originally wrote for Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018) before changing the lyrics for Presley. Davis also wrote the No. 1 Adult Contemporary hit “Watching Scotty Grow,” made famous by Bobby Goldsboro; “Something’s Burning” for Kenny Rogers (1938 – 2020) & the First Edition; and “I Believe in Music,” his own signature song that became a hit for Gallery.
As Davis’ own recordings began to be hits, he found himself a crossover artist, with success on both the country and pop charts. His hits included “One Hell of a Woman,” “Stop and Smell the Roses,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life),” and the novelty song “It’s Hard to Be Humble.” In later years, Davis collaborated on songwriting with Weezer, Avicii (1989 – 2018), Bruno Mars, and Keith Urban. Davis also had an acting career, with roles including pro football player Seth Maxwell in “North Dallas Forty,” Jake Hooker in “The Sting II,” and Sheriff Buford in the animated TV series “King of the Hill.” He was a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Davis on “In the Ghetto”
“I really thought that I was gonna change the world with that song…I was very proud of it. But unfortunately, with the way things are today, the song is probably more poignant now than when I wrote it.” —from a 2017 interview with Songwriter Universe
Tributes to Mac Davis
Full obituary: Tennessean