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Billy Davis (songwriter)

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– Birth and Career Beginnings:
– Born Roquel Billy Davis on July 11, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan.
– Early career with The Four Aims, a precursor to the Four Tops.
– Collaborated with Berry Gordy in the late 1950s, writing hits for Jackie Wilson.
– Co-founded Anna Records with Gwen Gordy, distributing early Tamla singles.
– Moved to Chess Records in the early 1960s, writing and producing for various artists.

– Achievements at Chess Records:
– Persuaded by Leonard Chess to lead A&R and creative departments.
– Wrote and produced for artists like Etta James, The Dells, and Chuck Berry.
– Left Chess Records in late 1968, before its eventual sale.
– Success at Chess led to a position at McCann Erickson in New York.
– Produced famous jingles for Coca-Cola, including “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

Advertising Career and Innovations:
– Rose to Senior Vice-President and Music Director at McCann Erickson.
– Produced iconic Coca-Cola jingles like “It’s the Real Thing” and “Country Sunshine.”
– Created jingles for Miller Beer and won awards for Coca-Cola ads.
– Introduced Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles to singing for advertising.
– Inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2007.

– Legacy and Recognition:
– Known for producing the famous Coca-Cola jingle “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”
– His work included the memorable Coca-Cola ad “Hey Kid, Catch!” with Mean Joe Greene.
– Considered one of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time.
– Inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2007 for his contributions.
– Passed away in September 2004 in New Rochelle, New York, at the age of 72.

– References:
– Geoff Boucher’s article in the Los Angeles Times from September 10, 2004.
– Dave Laing’s piece on Billy Davis in The Guardian from September 13, 2004.
– Commercial Appeal’s feature on Mean Joe Greene and the iconic Coca-Cola ad.
– Information from the website about Billy Davis.
– Margalit Fox’s obituary in The New York Times from September 10, 2004.

Roquel "Billy" Davis (July 11, 1932 – September 2, 2004), of Detroit, was an American songwriter, record producer, and singer. Davis was also known as a writer/producer of commercial jingles, mostly for Coca-Cola. He was also known as Tyran Carlo on writing credits.

Billy Davis
Birth nameRoquel Davis
Also known asTyran Carlo
Born(1932-07-11)July 11, 1932
OriginDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedSeptember 2, 2004(2004-09-02) (aged 72)
New Rochelle, New York
Occupation(s)Songwriter, record producer, singer
Years active1950s–1970s
LabelsAnna, Chess

Early in his career in Detroit, Davis sang and wrote with an early version of the Four Tops called "The Four Aims", which included his cousin Lawrence Payton. In the late-1950s, he collaborated with Berry Gordy, the Motown Records founder, to write 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 newly formed Tamla label. The two also wrote "Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)" for Wilson, which was a Top 10 hit for the singer in the UK and later topped the British charts in 1986 when re-released. Another success for the two was Marv Johnson's major hit in 1959, "You Got What It Takes" (#2 R&B, No. 10 pop), as the two continued to work together.

In the early 1960s, Davis left Detroit and moved to Chess Records in Chicago, after being persuaded by label owner, Leonard Chess to take charge of the A&R and creative departments, bringing in and supervising in-house songwriters, arrangers and producers, who were aiming now at the soul and crossover pop markets. During this period, he wrote and produced for many artists, including Etta James, The Dells, Billy Stewart, Little Milton, Jackie Ross, Mitty Collier, Fontella Bass, Chuck Berry, and Jackie Wilson.

Davis quit Chess towards the end of 1968, some months before the record company was eventually sold, with his success at the label gaining him a position writing and producing jingles at the McCann Erickson advertising agency in New York City. 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 (with country singer Dottie West, who recorded the song), and "If You've Got the Time" for Miller Beer.

The Coca-Cola advertisement Hey Kid, Catch!, starring Mean Joe Greene, included the song "Have a Coke and Smile" produced by Davis. Hey Kid, Catch! won the Clio and Cannes Gold Lion awards. It is also seen as one of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time.

Davis introduced both Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles to singing songs for advertising, and both artists sang songs produced by Davis for Coca-Cola commercials. In 2007, Davis was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

Davis died of natural causes in New Rochelle, New York, in September 2004. He was 72 years old.

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