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Carl Davis

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Information about Carl Davis

Profile image of Carl Davis

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Shrimp
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1934
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Shrimp
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1934
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Carl Davis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Successful record producer Carl H. Davis was born September 19, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois, where his father was a postal worker. He attended McCosh Elementary School and Englewood High School. He later earned a GED in 1954 and an associate’s degree from Cortez College of Business in 1957.

Davis began his radio career typing play-lists for popular Chicago disc jockey Al Benson on WGES Radio in 1955. He quickly earned a reputation as a “hitpicker.” His success allowed him to join the marketing department of Arnold Distributors. In the early 1960s, Davis managed the Nat label and had a minor hit with “Nite Owl” by the DuKays. In 1962, he became a producer for Okeh Records. There, Davis discovered the legendary Gene Chandler and produced and co-wrote the “Duke of Earl” in 1962 and Major Lance’s “Monkey Time” in 1963. Through his work, Davis created a Chicago sound with upbeat arrangements backed by musicians and arrangers like Johnny Pate and Sonny Sanders. A partnership with Curtis Mayfield resulted in hits for Major Lance, Billy Butler (Jerry’s brother) and Walter Jackson. Meanwhile, Gene Chandler’s “Rainbow,” “Just Be True,” and “Man’s Temptation” were all hits. Davis produced the hit “Dear Lover” for Mary Wells and often hired Motown’s Funk Brothers band. Davis was then hired by Brunswick Records where he produced Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and Barbara Acklyn’s “Love Makes A Woman.” After forming Atlantic’s Dakar Records, he produced the Chi-Lites and Tyrone Davis’ “Turn Back the Hands of Time” and “Can I Change My Mind.”

Davis had eight grandchildren, lived in Chicago and managed his own record label, Chi-Sound, until 2012.

Davis passed away on August 9, 2012.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carl Davis' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carl Davis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carl Davis talks about his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carl Davis talks about the book, 'Trinal American Family Gibson,' by Edward "Boo" Gibson, about his maternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carl Davis talks shares a story about his father's last name, and being born as Carl Adams
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carl Davis describes why his family moved from Louisiana to Chicago, Illinois and where he falls in the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carl Davis talks about his childhood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carl Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carl Davis describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Carl Davis talks about attending James McCosh Grammar School and Shiloh Seventh-Day Adventist School, in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Carl Davis talks about his teachers and his favorite subjects in school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Carl Davis describes his experience at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carl Davis describes joining the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carl Davis remembers having trouble with the police in Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carl Davis describes being relocated after experiencing racial discrimination in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carl Davis talks about working for disc jockey Al Benson in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carl Davis describes discovering the band, the Dukays, and encouraging the lead singer to change his name and go solo
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carl Davis talks about Al Benson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carl Davis talks about Gene Chandler's hit, 'Duke of Earl'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carl Davis talks about the success of the record, 'Duke of Earl'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carl Davis talks about working at OKeh Records and working with Curtis Mayfield
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carl Davis talks about African American songs becoming a hit after being re-recorded by white groups
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carl Davis compares the music industry today to the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carl Davis talks about groups he managed and Brunswick Records being sued
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carl Davis talks about starting Carl Davis Productions and Chi-Sound Records
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carl Davis describes the personalities of the artists he worked with
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carl Davis talks about leaving Columbia Records, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carl Davis talks about leaving Columbia Records, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carl Davis talks about Gene Chandler
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carl Davis tells stories about the artists he managed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carl Davis talks about new artists he's signed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carl Davis talks describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carl Davis describes the differences between digital recordings and live recordings
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carl Davis describes how the music industry has changed
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carl Davis talks about different musicians who recorded at his studio and two of his brothers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carl Davis reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carl Davis talks about WVON radio station and radio personalities today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carl Davis considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carl Davis describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carl Davis narrates his photographs