Country musician McDavis, known for writing enduring Elvis Presley hits such as “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Gheto,” has died at the age of 78.
His longtime manager Jim Moray said in a statement on Facebook that Davis died Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee, after heart surgery and was surrounded by family and friends.
Davis has a long and varied musical career for decades as a writer, singer, actor and television presenter and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. In addition to creating Presley hits, he is responsible for his own piece “Baby Don don’t hang on to me. “He was named an artist of the Academy of Country Music in 1
“Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for letting us know the man to whom you have given the most incredible talent,” Reba Makentiri said in a statement. “He entertained and spread joy to so many people. What a wonderful legacy he left to all of us with his music. Mac was one of a kind. I am so blessed that I was one of his many friends. “
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Born in Lubbock, Texas and raised in Georgia, Davis was inspired by Lubbock-born Buddy Holly, but it was Presley who gave him his first big musical break. Davis worked as a songwriter in Los Angeles for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company when Presley cut “A Little Less Conversation” in 1968.
Although it had little success at the time, the song became a bigger hit after Presley’s death, being covered by more than 30 artists and becoming Davis’ most licensed television song. The song topped the UK charts in 2002 after being used in a Nike commercial and included in the hit movie “Ocean’s Eleven”.
Davis also helped create the song “Memories,” which was a cornerstone of Presley’s major television major since 1968.
Davis had his own record deal in 1970, recording “Hooked on Music”, “It’s Hard to Be Humble” and “Texas in my Rearview Mirror”, and achieved crossover success in the charts. He had his own series, The NBC’s The McDavis Show, and also starred in television and movies, including with Nick Nolt in the football film North Dallas Forty. He even starred on Broadway in “The Will Rogers Follies” and toured with the musical. The band’s gallery had a hit on his song “I Believe in Music”.
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He has also written songs recorded by Kenny Rodgers (“Something Burns”), Dolly Parton (“White Limousine”) and Ray Price (“Lonesomest Lonesome”). He still wrote later in his life, co-authoring songs by Avicii (“Addicted to You”) and Bruno Mars (“Young Girls”).
“He was the songwriter behind some of the most iconic and timeless songs that transcend genres and generations, and was named a BMI icon in 2015,” said Mike O’Neill, president and CEO of BMI. “Apart from his exceptional talent, Mac was a devoted friend and protector of songwriters everywhere.”
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“A boy from a small town who achieved the greatest fame, he remained a good man, a family man,” said provincial star Kenny Chesney. “It was a Mac: a giant heart, quick to laugh and more creative. I was blessed to shine on me. And Mack, who was happy, fun and started a family around him, kept writing great songs, making music and inspiring everyone around him. “
“Today, our community has lost an amazing artist, songwriter and performer,” said Sarah Trahorn, CMA’s chief executive. “I remember watching the Mac TV show as a child, as well as his three years as a CMA host with Barbara Mandrell, which proved his mastery of television as well as music.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.