The Texas native charted several country and pop hits, and wrote other hit songs for such artists as Elvis Presley, Bobby Goldsboro and Kenny Rogers.
The C&I outfit would like to extend prayers and condolences to family, friends and fans of the multi-talented Mac Davis, who passed away late Tuesday in a Nashville hospital following heart surgery. He was 78.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Davis first came to prominence as a songwriter, penning tunes for the likes of Elvis Presley (“In the Ghetto,” “A Little Less Conversation”), Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (“I Believe in Music,” “Something’s Burning”), and Bobby Goldsboro (“Watching Scotty Grow”) before breaking through as a solo artist with his 1972 smash hit “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” which he later claimed, only half-jokingly, he wrote largely because a record company executive demanded he write a song “with a hook.”
Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Davis continued to score on the country and pop charts with such songs as “One Hell of a Woman,” “Stop and Smell the Roses,” “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” “Texas in My Rearview Mirror” and “I Never Made Love (Till I Made It With You).”
He also hosted The Mac Davis Show, a popular 1974-76 variety show on NBC, and appeared on the Broadway stage in 1993 as the star of The Will Rogers Follies. As a film actor, he co-starred with Nick Nolte in the football dramedy North Dallas Forty (1979), played the lead role as a divorce attorney’s private investigator in Cheaper to Keep Her (1981), took over Robert Redford’s role for the sequel The Sting II (1983), appeared as karaoke competitor Sammy Bones in Jackpot (2001), and had cameo roles opposite Luke Wilson in The Wendell Baker Story (2005) and Toby Keith in Beer for My Horses (2008).
Davis was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998. Subsequently, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban of The Oak Ridge paid tribute to Davis: “American music has just lost a premiere singer, songwriter, entertainer, and a genuinely great human being. In a year already fraught with sacrifice and loss this is another one that is hard to process. Goodbye Mac Davis… until the day…”
Among the tributes offers by other artists:
“Mac Davis was such a great guy and an amazing writer. One of the best in the business and a wonderful friend. This is a huge loss to the music industry. His family is in my prayers.”
“There’s no way to express the grief that we feel about Mac Davis. The entertainment industry will miss this great talent and beautiful American. We pray for his family and those that love him.”
“Very sad tonight! I just heard legendary singer, songwriter and actor Mac Davis has passed away after heart surgery. I grew up watching The Mac Davis Show and loving his talent. This is heartbreaking!”
“I’m so very heartbroken with the loss of Mac Davis, one of the world’s greatest writers, singers, and actors, but above all of that, he was a dear friend. He was always quick to shed light on other’s talents and help them shine. I’m grieving for his precious wife Lise and their family. I pray God will comfort her during this very sad and difficult time. I’ll always cherish the memories he pressed between the pages of my mind.”
“I was saddened to hear about Mac Davis' passing. He was a great talent and a lot of fun to be around. I got to know him while producing the White Limozeen album for Dolly Parton. Condolences to his family for their loss.”
“I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Mac Davis. Mac has been a friend since way back in Atlanta when we both first started out as kids. Rest in peace, Mac.”
“Another dear friend, Mac Davis, has left for home. The toughest part of his passing is that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye and how much I loved being his friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his incredible wife Lise and his family. This one’s going to hurt for a long time, but I will always have some of the greatest ‘memories pressed between the pages of my mind.’”
“Mac Davis was a Texan. That’s a good place to start. He was one of the very best singer-songwriter-entertainers... ever! He was funny. Very funny! He was a good golfer. He always thought he could beat me and he did beat me, about half the time, which helped make for a great friendship. Last night, he did beat me. He beat me to Heaven. See ya later, old friend. I miss ya already.”
“I cherish the tours I had with Mac Davis and was thrilled to work the Nevada casinos with him. He made a huge impact in our world of country music, and greatly respected. Love you Mac.”
“We’ve just lost one of the greatest singer/songwriters that I’ve known in my lifetime. Say Hello To Heaven Mac Davis.”
Lacy J. Dalton
“Bunches and bunches of love with angels all around. Love you Mac!”
“I am praying for my friend Mac Davis and his family. I can’t believe this and will see you on the other side. I love you Mac!”
T. Graham Brown
“I am very saddened to hear about the passing of Mac Davis. I met him at Vince Gill’s golf tournament and I saw him at that same event for several years. He was always fun and funny! What a songwriter. ‘In The Ghetto’ is one of the best songs ever! Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. God Bless.”
“I came across Mac Davis telling a story about Elvis. He’d been invited to see a movie with Elvis at a theater. He told the story in such a warm and funny way that I watched him tell it several times and actually wished I could have met him. Then I learned that he wrote the song ‘Memories’ and I was really moved. This is such a beautiful, incomparable song that words can’t express my admiration for it. Here’s to Mac Davis. You were a Good Ol Boy for sure and I sure wish I could have met you for a beer or two.”
“Thank you Mac for all the amazing songs you’ve contributed and shared with the world… ‘A Little Less Conversation’ and a lot more. God bless.”
“Mac Davis was a music trifecta: he could write, he could sing, he could entertain—and he was great at all three. In the mid-‘70s, I remember inching up to the television as a boy and watching The Mac Davis Show. My favorite part of the show was when Mac ventured into the crowd and asked the audience members to shout out a person, place, or thing. He then asked them to give him a scenario, and on the spot, he would make up a song. No wonder he became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“It was a big moment for me when I met and worked with my hero years later. The last time I saw Mac we were in the studio together and he was singing me one Beatles' song after another as his alter ego Max Birnbaum. I laughed until I cried. Mac had a wicked sense of humor. He will be missed. We have lost one of the greats.”
“It’s strange, out of the blue last week, I was thinking about Mac Davis and his television show I watched when I was young. I thought that the most memorable part of the show is when he would go into the audience and ask someone to make up a song title. He would then, on the spot, create a small song with the title. It was incredible. He was an unbelievable songwriter and singer and will be so missed.”
"This is another loss for the greatest era in American contemporary music with the passing of this extremely talented soul, Mac Davis.”
Here is a clip of Mac Davis singing “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” on a 1973 episode of The Midnight Special.