A music artist with two careers – songwriter and performer – and a profession with two facets – actor and musician – Mac Davis has enjoyed success in both the worlds of entertainment. Born on January 21, 1942, to Abe and Juanita Davis in Lubbock, he was raised in Texas. After high school, he moved to Atlanta to live with his mother. While in Atlanta, he would organize a rock and roll group called Zots, with which he released two singles on a small record label. The song didn’t do so well, but Davis, though still a teenager, was on his way to becoming a professional musician. His break would come when he started working for Nancy Sinatra (of Boots Enterprises). He would stay with the label for nearly a decade, until 1970 when Columbia Records took him in as one of its signees. That marked the beginning of what would be a great music career.
10. “I Believe in Music” (from the “I Believe in Music” Album – 1972)
The first song off Mac Davis’s second studio album is “I Believe in Music.” The song was released in 1972 and is widely considered Mac’s signature song. The song has been sampled more than once, and it’s quite popular among production companies. In a 2017 interview, Mac revealed that the inspiration for the song came while he was in England, at the home of Maurice Gibb and Lulu. He recalls going to the kitchen and meeting a bunch of hippies who were planning to have a séance. One of them suggested he join them, but Mac said no, making them know that it wasn’t his thing. It’s then that someone asked, “Don’t you believe in the occult,” of which Mac replied, No, I believe in music.” It’s then that the idea for the song came about. He quickly grabbed one of Gibb’s guitars and began strumming it. He came up with the hook right there, before the party ended.
9. “Memories” (from the “Song Painter” Album – 1970)
This song was originally sung by Elvis Presley. Mac Davis released the song as his tribute, following his death in 1977. Note that this wasn’t the only Elvis Presley song Mac covered; he also did “In the Ghetto”. Memories was included in Mac’s fourth studio album, “Song Painter.” The song was released later that year, but it didn’t fare too well on the charts. However, it did go gold sometime after its release.
8. “Something is Burning” (from the “I Believe in Music” album – 1972)
This song is the ninth single off his hit album, “I Believe in Music.” The song was released in 1972. Kenny Rogers and the First Edition have also sung the song. The song was considered too sensual or controversial for the radio at the time of its release. So, instead of releasing it in America, the label decided to release it in Europe, where censorship wasn’t that strict. It would blow up almost immediately, eventually hitting the number one spot. It was an international success, an unstoppable conflagration that would spread to all parts of the world.
7. “Friend, Lover, Woman Wife” (from the “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” album – 1972)
Mac Davis is a songwriting genius, and this song is the only proof you need. It’s the fifth single off Mac’s album “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me.” The song was a massive success in 1972. It’s also one of Mac’s most covered songs to date. The song is an ode to wives everywhere and their contribution to marriages. It’s a slow, heartfelt song that takes the time to acknowledge just how key these women are in the lives of men, in general.
6. “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” (from the “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” album – 1972)
The title of this song says it all. A huge hit off Mac’s debut album (https://www.songhall.org/profile/Mac_Davis), “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” it’s one of the best songs to come out of that album. The song is about Mac Davis himself, or more precisely, his womanizing ways. Mac is just honest on this song. He doesn’t want to sell false hope to the woman. He’s warning her from getting invested because he knows he’s a non-committer. He has a habit of falling in love with every girl he meets, only to break her heart later.
5. “In the Ghetto” (from the “the Song Painter” album – 1970)
“In the Ghetto” is another one of Elvis Presley’s covers that Mac Davis did justice. The song was originally recorded by Elvis in 1969 and written by Mac Davis himself. The song is a protest against the social conditions, but an overtone of hope can also be felt throughout the song. It does end on a positive note; everyone should strive to make their own lives better, independent of what’s going around them.
4. “Watching Scotty Grow” (from the “I Believe in Music” album – 1972)
Mac wrote this song for Bobby Goldsboro. It’s an emotional story about parenthood, growing up, and the innocence of children. It was released as a single in 1972 off Mac’s “I Believe in Music” album. The song reached #7 on the US Country charts, becoming Goldsboro’s first entry. Later that year, it would peak at number 83 on the US Pop charts.
3. “One Hell of a Woman” (from the “Stop and Smell the Roses” album – 1974)
One Hell Of a Woman was released in 1974 on Mac’s “Stop and Smell the Roses” album. It was another song co-written by Mac Davis, this time alongside his longtime friend Mark James. The song was a moderate success for Mac, and it peaked at number 11 on the US Pop charts. It didn’t fare as well on the Country music charts though, didn’t even get there.
2. “Stop and Smell the Roses” (from the “Stop and Smell the Roses” album – 1974)
The title track of Mac Davis’ fifth studio album is “Stop and Smell the Roses.” It was released in February 1974 as part of the album. The song has a simple but powerful message. Mac was tired of seeing people rush their way through life. He wanted everyone to slow down, take a deep breath, and live in the moment they have right now.It’s about appreciating life, taking life one moment at a time, and enjoying everything that’s given to you. There is no other song like it in the world of music, and Mac Davis made his own little corner on top of that.
1. “Burning Thing” (from the “Stop and Smell the Roses” album – 1974)
“Burning Thing” is arguably one of Mac Davis’ best songs ever. It’s a song that has stayed relevant over time, and it’s still talked about to this day. Mac is professing his love to a girl he’s missing — comparing his love to a burning thing, hence the song title. It’s a song meant to be danced to, and it has the perfect tempo for that. Mac himself even performed “Burning Thing” in 2017 on an episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” It peaked at number 15 on the US Pop charts and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975.