Farewell To Another Balladeer: Paul Davis

I heard the news while driving the winding backroad to my granddaughter’s house on Wednesday. Singer Paul Davis died April 22 of a heart attack, one day after his 60th birthday. My heart sank.

His music is part of my personal history of the late 70s and early 80s, and his song “I Go Crazy” (1978) is one of my all-time favorites. When he sings, “Hello girl, it’s been awhile,” I’m transfixed and transported. I’m that angst-ridden teenage girl who dreams of having a boy love her so much that when she breaks his heart and they run into each other a few years later, his face would pale and his heart would skip a beat and she would know she still had “it.”

I’m a drama queen. I admit it. But the lyrics…ah…they feel sadistically redemptive, and the music is slow and sad. It’s every Jane Eyre-loving girls perfect song:

“Hello girl it's been awhile
Guess you'll be glad to know
That I've learned how to laugh and smile
Getting over you was slow
They say old lovers can be good friends
But I never thought I'd really see you
I'd really see you again

“I go crazy
When I look in your eyes
I still go crazy
No my heart just can't hide
That old feelin' inside
Way deep down inside
Oh baby, you know when I look in your eyes
I go crazy

You say he satisfies your mind
Tells you all of his dreams
I know how much that means to you
I realize that I was blind
Just when I thought I was over you
I see your face and it just ain't true
No it just ain't true…”

Even at 44 that song still makes me sardonically happy. It’s one of my cool-down songs in my workout mix on my iPod.

“Cool Night” (1981) doesn’t have quite the same effect as “I Go Crazy,” but it still fed my heartbreak fantasies back in the day.

“Come on over tonight, come on over.
It’s gonna be a cool night, just let me hold you by the firelight.
If it don’t feel right you can go.

“Oh and the cool night, brings back memories of a good life.
When this love was not so old.”

“Sweet Life” (1978) brought out Happy Housewife Lynn, especially when I heard it after I married Bruce and we lived a sweet life and we made a daughter who had his eyes and my nose. After he died, it became our bittersweet anthem, and hearing it today for the first time in probably 20 years, I choked up a little.

“She's got your eyes, she's got my nose
And I get high just watching her grow
We always dreamed we'd live in a castle
Oh, but we're in the same old shack
Sometimes we get into a hassle
But we always take each other back
This old world seems to be in a hurry
But darlin' we'll just keep on takin' our time

“'Cause we're livin' such a sweet life
Oh what a neat life
Sharin' my love with you
We're livin' such a sweet life
Oh what a neat life
Makin' our dreams come true
We're makin' our dreams come true…”

I don’t care for “65 Love Affair” (1982) since I’m not a big do-wop, 50s be-bop fan, AND because for the two weeks it was a big hit it was always played right after, right before or at least in the same hour as the all-time suckiest song ever, “Bette Davis Eyes.” Longest two weeks of my life. Of course, now that I’ve thought about it and written it down, “Bette Davis Eyes” will be playing in my head all day. Ugh.

I totally forgot Paul Davis sang a song called “Do Right” (1980) until I researched this blog this morning. It always felt a little preachy to me (probably because it is preachy) and it always seemed to come on the radio when I was smoking or drinking or otherwise immorally engaged. It was like my mother and my pastor were in the back seat (or the front seat, depending on what I was doing at the time).

“I know that he gave his life for me
Set all our spirits free
So I wanna do right wanna do right
All of my life
I never dreamed I could be holding you
Well he's making my dreams come true
So I wanna do right, wanna do right
I wanna do right, oh…”

I’ve loved this time with Paul Davis’s music this morning. I’m sad he is gone. I wish his family peace.

4 thoughts on “Farewell To Another Balladeer: Paul Davis

  1. When I saw that singer Paul Davis had died I had to google him to find out who he was. Then I cried at his passing. I loved his songs as a child. I was born in 1972, and his music was played very often in our house and car. So his music reminds me of time spent with my dad on lazy Saturdays or Sunday afternoon drives. I love music from the 70’s and Paul Davis was one of the best singer/songwriters of that decade. Thank you for reminding your readers how truly wonderful his music is.

  2. (Sigh) I too will miss him. I also miss Eddie Rabbit. He was another that had great love songs. Have you ever heard his “Dim, Dim The Lights”?

  3. And she’ll tease you
    She’ll unease you
    All the better just to please you
    She’s precocious and she knows just
    What it takes to make a pro blush
    She got Greta Garbo stand off sighs
    She’s got Bette Davis eyes

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