Tyrone Davis was born as Tyrone Fettson in Mississippi in May 1938, as he became older his father decided to move away to Saginaw in Mitchigan, before he himself relocated to Chicago.
One of his first jobs was as chauffeur/valet for blues singer Freddie King and in his off time he began to sing in local clubs where he was noticed by a local record company and signed straight away, unfortunately his records received very little support or reaction and it wasn’t until Carl Davis signed him for Dakar records in 1968 that his career finally got going.
Carl Davis suggested a name change and gave Tyrone his own name to use and so Tyrone Davis – singer was born. A few good early records put Davis in the thoughts of radio stations and the soul music fraternity and “Can I change my mind” was his first big record topping the Billboard r’n’b charts. But his first huge hit was in 1970 with the classic “Turn back the hands of time” – this record again topped the Billboard r’n’b charts but also reached number 3 on the Hot 100.
The next four to five years, Davis had a string of top r’n’b re ords without hitting the heights of his biggest hit….that was until 1975 when the Willie Henderson produced “Turning Point” gave Davis another monster hit. Tyrone Davis was now rubbing shoulders with Al Green, Bobby Womack, Johnnie Taylor etc as one of the major soul singers of the seventies. Carl Davis at Dakar decided to move the singer to the mega Columbia label as his stock was rising.
Tyrone Davis was dubbed as the “King of romantic Chicago soul” and that title pretty much summed up his style. Despite great success in the seventies and eighties his career hit the buffers in the nineties – soul music had moved on and the Davis brand if soul music was seen as outdated. By the mid nineties it was clear his days of hits were over and he now just made albums to please himself and his devoted fans.
In September 2004, Tyrone Davis suffered a stroke and his career was at an end. Complications of the stroke followed and Tyrone Davis died in February 2005 at the age of 66. His career will be remembered for his sincerity – his music was successful despite no apparent commercialism in his records, he did not court chart success by changing who he was as a singer…a singer with integrity!
The Best of Tyrone Davis is available on Amazon.