Roquel "Billy" Davis
born on 11/7/1932 in Detroit, MI, United States
died on 2/9/2004 in New Rochelle, NY, United States
Billy Davis (songwriter)
Roquel "Billy" Davis (July 11, 1932 September 2, 2004), of Detroit, was an American songwriter, record producer, and singer. Davis is best known as a songwriter for a number of soul musicians label, and as a writer/producer of commercial jingles, mostly for Coca-Cola. He was also known as Tyran Carlo.
Early in his career, Davis worked with an early version of the Four Tops called "The Four Aims", which included his cousin Lawrence Payton. In the late-1950s, he and collaborator Berry Gordy wrote a number of hit songs for Jackie Wilson. The most notable of these was "Lonely Teardrops", written by Davis, Gordy, and Gordy's sister Gwen, who was Davis's girlfriend at the time. Davis and Gwen Gordy later founded Anna Records, which was the distributor of the early singles from Berry Gordy's Tamla (later Motown) label.
By the mid-1960s, Davis was in charge of the A&R and creative departments at Chess Records, supervising the in-house songwriters and producers. During this period, he wrote and produced for many artists, including Etta James, The Dells, Billy Stewart, Jackie Ross, and Fontella Bass, whose 1965 single "Rescue Me" was Davis' biggest hit.
Davis's success garnered him a position writing and producing jingles at the McCann Erickson advertising agency, where he eventually rose to Senior Vice-President and Music Director. While at McCann-Erickson, Davis's primary client was The Coca-Cola Company, for which he produced the famous jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)", used in a 1971 Coca-Cola television advertisement. He also produced other jingles such as "It's the Real Thing", "Things Go Better With Coke" and "Country Sunshine" for Coca-Cola, and "If You've Got the Time" for Miller Beer.
Davis died of natural causes in Detroit in September 2004. He was 72 years old.
- Spectropop Remembers Billy Davis