NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country star Mac Davis, who launched his career crafting the Elvis Presley hits "A Little Less Conversation" and "In the Ghetto" and whose own hits include "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me," has died. He was 78.
His longtime manager Jim Morey said in a press release that Davis died in Nashville on Tuesday after heart surgery and was surrounded by family and friends.
Davis had a long and varied career in music for decades as a writer, singer, actor and TV host and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. He was named 1974's entertainer of the year by the Academy of Country Music and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, and raised in Georgia, Davis was inspired by fellow Lubbock native Buddy Holly, but it was Elvis who gave him his first musical big break. Davis worked as a staff songwriter in Los Angeles for Nancy Sinatra's publishing company when in 1968 Presley cut "A Little Less Conversation."
Although it had a little success at the time, the song became a bigger hit after Presley's death, being covered by more than 30 artists and became Davis' most licensed TV soundtrack song. The song reached the top of the UK charts in 2002 after it was used in a Nike commercial and was featured in the hit movie "Ocean's 11."
Davis also helped craft the song "Memories" that was a cornerstone of Elvis' big 1968 comeback TV special.
Davis got a recording deal of his own in 1970, recording "Hooked on Music," "It's Hard to be Humble," and "Texas in my Rearview Mirror," and getting crossover success on pop charts. He had his own TV series, "The Mac Davis Show" on NBC, and also acted in TV and film, including alongside Nick Nolte in the football film "North Dallas Forty." He even starred on Broadway.
Here are photos remembering Davis and his career: