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Spectropop - Digest Number 1638

               SPECTROPOP - Spectacular! Retro! Pop!

There are 4 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Re: Billy Davis, R.I.P.
           From: Austin Roberts 
      2. Re: Billy Davis, R.I.P.
           From: Charles Ellis 
      3. Re: Billy Davis
           From: Phil X Milstein 
      4. "Every Little Bit Hurts"
           From: Mick Patrick 

Message: 1 Date: Thu, 09 Sep 2004 22:56:41 EDT From: Austin Roberts Subject: Re: Billy Davis, R.I.P. Mick Patrick: > I'd be interested to learn of other S'poppers favourites from > his massive body of work, or any interesting stories from > anyone who might have worked with him. Billy Davis produced and wrote many of the Coke commercials. I worked with him in the early 70's around the time Something's Wrong With Me hit. We wrote a Coke song for me to sing as a commercial. Unfortunately, it never got made but Billy was cool to work with and very talented. Sorry to hear that he died. Austin Roberts -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 2 Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 06:54:53 -0000 From: Charles Ellis Subject: Re: Billy Davis, R.I.P. How heartbreaking- as a longtime fan of Chicago soul (a genre that has been VASTLY underrated!), it's quite sad to hear of Mr. Davis' passing. He did so much as Chess Records' A&R chief in the 60s, especially with Etta James, Billy Stewart, Sugar Pie DeSanto, the Dells, Tony Clarke, Fontella Bass, Mitty Collier, Jan Bradley, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Jackie Ross- and that's just the tip of the iceberg! And he gave big breaks to future stars Minnuie Riperton and Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire ( a Chess studio musician in the 60s). It's a big loss because the music industry just doesn't have the same type of man with "the golden ear" any more. In retrospect we can also say that Mr. Davis had a big influence on what became Motown because of his early partnership with Berry Gordy. He WILL be missed........ Charles Ellis -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 3 Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 11:41:03 +0000 From: Phil X Milstein Subject: Re: Billy Davis The New York Timesís obituary of Billy Davis: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Billy Davis, Who Developed Iconic TV Ads, Dies at 72 by Margalit Fox September 10, 2004 Billy Davis, a Detroit singer and songwriter turned advertising executive who was involved in many of the most memorable R&B hits and musical ad campaigns of the late 20th century, died on Sept. 2 at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 72. Mr. Davis's sister, Gladys Adams, did not announce a cause, saying only that he had been ill for some time. His most famous campaign, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," was a long-running television commercial and later a hit song on its own. As a rhythm-and-blues singer, Mr. Davis performed with an early version of the Four Tops and helped the group get its first recording contract. Under the name Tyran Carlo, he wrote music and lyrics for stars like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and the Supremes. Mr. Davis's hit songs, many written with Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, included "Reet Petite," "Lonely Teardrops" and "That's Why (I Love You So)." In later years, Mr. Davis also composed a string of successful advertising jingles, also including "It's the Real Thing" and "Things Go Better With Coke" for Coca-Cola, and "If You've Got the Time" for Miller Beer. Roquel Billy Davis was born July 11, 1932, in Detroit. His early musical experience had its roots in the city, with its vigorous popular music scene, and in his extended family. "My career started early, singing on street corners," The Financial Times quoted Mr. Davis as having said. "There was a doo-wop group for every neighborhood and talent shows every week." In the early 1950's, a cousin of Mr. Davis, Lawrence Payton, started a group called the Four Aims. Mr. Davis, who sometimes sang with them as a fifth member, sent a tape of the group to Chess Records in Chicago. Although Chess was more enthusiastic about Mr. Davis's original material than about the group itself, it signed the Four Aims to the label in 1956. To avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers, the group changed its name to the Four Tops. Though the Four Tops did poorly at Chess, the label gave several of Mr. Davis's compositions to its other artists, including "See Saw," recorded by the Moonglows and "A Kiss From Your Lips," recorded by the Flamingos. In the late 1950's, Mr. Davis joined forces with Mr. Gordy when he was an up-and-coming Detroit songwriter and producer. They collaborated on several hits, including "To Be Loved" and "I'll Be Satisfied," for another of Mr. Davis's cousins, Jackie Wilson. At first, writing for Mr. Wilson was reward enough in itself. "We didn't even know we were supposed to be paid," Mr. Davis told The Detroit News last year. When they finally asked for money, it caused a break with Mr. Wilson's manager. The two men struck out on their own. Mr. Davis helped start Anna Records, later absorbed into Mr. Gordy's Motown label. "If it wasn't for that rejection, then maybe there wouldn't have been a Motown," Mr. Davis said last year. In the early 1960's, Mr. Davis became a producer and A&R director at Chess. There, he produced the hit "Rescue Me," sung by Fontella Bass. The record caught the attention of the New York advertising agency McCann-Erickson. In 1968, Mr. Davis joined the agency, becoming music director and eventually a senior vice president. In hiring Mr. Davis, McCann-Erickson was one of the first agencies to take pop music seriously as a way to sell consumer goods. Working with the agency's creative director, Bill Backer, and the British songwriter Roger Cook, Mr. Davis created a jingle for Coca-Cola tentatively titled "Mom, True Love and Apple Pie." Mr. Davis adapted the tune from an earlier song by Mr. Cook and Roger Greenaway. Recorded by the New Seekers under the title "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," the song was a failure when it was first played on the radio in 1971. But when it was rerecorded for a television spot, this time sung by an enormous children's chorus, it quickly and indelibly imprinted itself in the minds of a generation. Mr. Davis rewrote it as "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)." Mr. Davis is survived by his sister, of Baldwin, N.Y., and a son, Shawn, of New Rochelle. His wife, Patricia Hardy, died last year. "Using music in a commercial is a great aid to recall," Mr. Davis told The Detroit Free Press in 1983. "It will help you remember the commercial and the product. Music allows you to add emotional content." But Pepsi, not Coke, was the beverage of choice when he was a teenager, he told the paper, because a Pepsi was only a nickel, while it took two to buy a Coke. -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 4 Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 20:04:08 +0100 From: Mick Patrick Subject: "Every Little Bit Hurts" Don't ask me where they originate from, but dozens, possibly hundreds, of unissued Motown recordings are presently in circulation. Among them is an unidentified version of "Every Little Bit Hurts", a song most of you will know by Brenda Holloway. Rumour has it that this mystery rendition is by Oma Heard, also known as Oma Drake, and frequently erroneously billed by Motown themselves as Oma Page. Anyway, that's all by the by, because having recently heard the track, I can report that it's very obvious to me that the unidentified vocalist and Oma Heard sound nothing alike. So who is the unnamed singer? Well, after much ferreting around in the heap of junk I sometimes refer to as my archives, I found an interview with Ed Cobb, who wrote the song. A 15-page epic, it was published in issues 38, 39 and 40 of Blitz magazine in 1980/1. The interview rather dwells of Cobb's years in the Four Preps and his later work with the Standells and the Chocolate Watch Band, but does touch upon "Every Little Bit Hurts". For the benefit of my Motown-obsessed pals, here's what Ed has to say: ------------------------------------------------------------- >From the Ed Cobb Story by Mike McDowell Part Three, The Production Years Blitz magazine, #40, July-August, 1981 Ed Cobb: I wrote "Every Little Bit Hurts", cut the tracks and had a girl named Barbara Wilson singing on it. I spent $3,000 in plane fares shopping it around to every record company there was. I finally ended up at Motown in Detroit. Berry Gordy's secretary asked me if I had an appointment. I said that I didn't. She said, "Mr Gordy can't see you right now. If you call for an appointment, we'll set one up." I told her, "You don't understand. I've got to see him. Please tell him where I'm staying and that I'll be there until he calls me." Three days went by. I finally got a call saying that he wanted to see me. I walked into his office. He didn't say much. He put the record on and said, "Sounds like a hit to me." He added, "We've got a girl on the west coast by the name of Brenda Holloway. We're just starting up our west coast operations. Go see Mark Gordon and Hal Davis out there." I don't hold any hostility at this juncture in my life over what happened after that. But what happened was that I put the entire record together. Hal came in with me and put on Brenda Holloway's voice, but I had produced the whole record. I told Berry Gordy that I get the production credits when the record comes out. We mixed it down and sent it to him. Then I went back on the road, because I was still with the Four Preps doing college concerts. We were in North Carolina, and I heard the record coming on the air. I thought that was great. While I was in Detroit, Berry had me cut the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and a whole bunch of other artists. I was up three nights in a row, doing one session after another. In the middle of that, the contracts went by. These were the contracts for publishing and at that time what I thought was producer's royalty. None of those things happened. I wound up with my writing royalties on that record, and nothing else. I was dazzled by all these artists I was producing, and never paid any attention to the business. I was still a kid. That was my first lesson about the business. When I finally got a copy of the record to show my wife, it said that Ed Cobb wrote it, but that Jobete published it. That was not my company. And it listed Hal Davis and Mark Gordon as the producers! But nothing was altered on the rhythm tracks. It was the exact same demo that I brought to Motown in the first place. I cut two records with Brenda Holloway for Motown. Berry Gordy wanted me to come back to Detroit and cut some more, but I said, "No! I've cut my last record for Motown. That's it!" >From there, I went strictly on my own to other labels. I watched every piece of paper from that day henceforth. -------------------------------------------------------------- I have a nagging suspicion that Barbara Wilson was related to west coast Motowner Frank Wilson. Also, I seem to recall reading elsewhere - maybe in an interview with Brenda Holloway - that the singer with whom Ed Cobb recorded the original version of "Every Little Bit Hurts" died shortly afterwards. Maybe someone can confirm? "Every Little Bit Hurts" by Barbara Wilson is now playing @ musica: Enjoy. Hey la, Mick Patrick -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
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