R.I.P. Mac Davis, singer, actor and variety show host
He wrote songs for Elvis and Dolly Parton along with his own number one hit.
Read to Me
Image: The Everett Collection
The 1980 country hit "Hooked on Music" opens with Mac Davis singing about the night he knew music was in his soul: "I heard a boy named Elvis Presley / Singin' 'That's Alright Mama' on the radio / And it turned me on / I been hooked on music / Hooked on music from that moment on."
Davis confirmed those beginning lines to be true in an interview last year. He also noted, "It's pretty amazing to me that some fourteen years [after that night in the lyrics] my first hit record was an Elvis Presley record." That song would be "A Little Less Conversation," performed in the 1968 Elvis movie Live a Little, Love a Little.
Davis continued to write for Presley, including songs "In the Ghetto" and "Don’t Cry Daddy," and in 1970 signed a deal with Columbia Records. Two years later, Davis had his own number one hit with "Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me."
Davis' fun-loving and genial personality was on full display when he began hosting his own variety program in 1974. The show ran for three seasons and included musical performances, sketches, and a recurring bit where Davis would ask the audience for suggestions then write a song on the spot.
After The Mac Davis Show ended, its multi-talented host went on to star in movies like North Dallas Forty alongside Nick Nolte and The Sting II with Jackie Gleason.
Davis continued to act well into his later years, appearing in the 2003 remake of Where the Red Fern Grows, lending his voice to the animated show King of the Hill and recently acting in an episode of the Netflix anthology series Dolly Parton's Heartstrings — a fitting last role, as he wrote the title track for her 1993 album Slow Dancing with the Moon.
Davis continued to write music throughout his life as well. The Lubbock, Texas, native contributed to tracks by modern artists Avicii, Bruno Mars and Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo.
Over the years, Davis-penned songs have been recorded by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls and Helen Reddy, just to name a few.
Mac Davis passed away in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 78.