Davis was a cousin of Lawrence Payton and became the manager of his doo wop group, The Aims, submitting their recordings to Chess Records - where the label eventually changed their name to the Four Tops. A relationship with Gwen Gordy lead to his compositional skills being teamed with her brother Berry Gordy. Under the pseudonym Tyran Carlo he penned a raft of hits with Gordy, including "Reet Petite" for another of his cousins, Jackie Wilson. In 1958, Davis and Gwen Gordy formed Anna Records - eventually merged with Berry Gordy's Motown label. Feeling sidelined he moved to Chess Records to help them compete in the burgeoning soul music market, leading to seminal hits such as "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass.
In 1968, Davis joined the McCann-Erickson Agency in New York as an advertising executive rising to become Senior Vice President and Music Director. He helped create commercial 'jingles' for brands such as Coca Cola ("I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke" - later re-written as "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing"), Miller Beers, Sony, Nabisco and Nescafé. His inspiration for the Coca Cola jingle is evident in the Cook-Greenaway song "Mom, True Love And Apple Pie".
Billy Davis (2) Discography Tracks
- 2 Vocals
- 2 Instruments & Performance
- 480 Writing & Arrangement
- 6 Conducting & Leading
- 156 Production
- 1 Technical