Country musician Mac Davis, best known for writing such as “A Little Come Conversation” and “In the Ghetto” to Elvis Presley, has died at the age of 78.
His longtime manager, Jim More, said in a Facebook statement that Davis died Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn. Following heart surgery and surrounded by family and friends.
Davis had a long and varied career in music as a writer, singer, actor and TV host for decades and in 2006 was inducted into the Song Writers Hall of Fame. In addition to the Presley hits, he was responsible for his track “Baby Don’t” ‘Don’t Get Hooked On Me.’ He was named the Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 1974 and is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Reba McEntire said in a statement, “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for getting to know the man you gave me the most incredible talent.” He said, “He entertained many people and spread the joy.” A wonderful legacy he left all of us with his music. Mac was one of a kind. I am very blessed to be one of his many friends. ”
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Born in LuxBok, Texas, and raised in Georgia, Davis was inspired by fellow Lubbock native Buddy Holly, but it was Presley who gave him his first musical big break. Davis worked as a staff songwriter in Los Angeles for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company when Presley cut “A Little Come Conversation” in 1968.
Although it had little success at the time, the song became a huge hit after Presley’s death, which included more than 30 artists and became Davis’ most licensed TV soundtrack song. The song topped the UK charts in 2002, was used in a Nike advertisement and was featured in the hit film “Ocean XI”.
Davis also helped create the song “Memories”, which was a cornerstone of Pressley’s 1968 big TV show.
Davis received a recording deal of his own in 1970, “Hooked on Music,” “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” and “Texas in My Rearview Mirror,” and was a crossover success on the pop charts. He had his own TV series. “The Mac Davis Show” on NBC, and also starred in TV and film, including with Nick Nolte in the football film “North Dallas Forty”. She even starred in “The Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway and toured with the musical. The group gallery gave a hit on their song “I Believe in Music”.
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He also wrote songs recorded by Kenny Rogers (“Something Burning”), Dolly Parton (“White Limousen”) and Ray Price (“Lonesome Lonesome”). He was still writing later in life, getting co-writing credits on songs by Avicii (“Aided to You”) and Bruno Mars (“Young Girls”).
“He was the lyricist behind some of the most iconic and timeless songs that transcend genres and generations and was named a BMI icon in 2015,” said BMI President and Chief Executive Officer Mike O’Neill. “Beyond his extraordinary talent, Mac was a devoted friend and advocate for songwriters everywhere.”
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“A small-town boy who achieved the greatest variety of fame, he remained a good man, a family man,” said country star Kenny Chesney. “It was Mac: a huge heart, sharp to laugh and a great creative spirit. I was blessed to have a glow on me. And Mac, who was cheerful, witty and built a family around himself, had the greatest ever. Writing songs, making music, and inspiring everyone around me never stopped. ”
“Today our nation’s community lost an amazing entertainer, songwriter and performer,” said CMA CEO Sarah Treharn. “I remember Mac’s TV show as a child as well as co-hosting the CMA Awards with Barbara Mandrell, who proved his command of the television medium as well as music.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.