On Wednesday, Graceland’s official YouTube account paid tribute to songwriter Mac Davis after he passed away last week at the age of 78. Davis became critically ill after undergoing heart surgery and died the following day.
Early on in the native Texan’s career, Davis wrote songs for The King himself, Elvis Presley. Some of the hits they collaborated on included “Memories”, “Don’t Cry Daddy”, and “A Little Less Conversation”.
Graceland’s YouTube channel shared a video in remembrance of Davis that garnered almost 100,000 views. The video clip shows Davis later in life on stage chatting about his career as a songwriter and his work with Presley. The host begs Davis to play “Memories” – made famous by Presley. Davis obliges, but beforehand he tells a humorous story of how the song came about.
Mac Davis Sings and Shares Story of Writing “Memories”
“Let me explain a little bit about it, before I embarrass myself (playing it),” Davis jokes.
Davis goes on to explain that he only had 24 hours to write the song. Davis was contacted to create a song that would bookend a section of The King’s new show where Presley would revisit his past and sing all of his old hits. Presley wanted to sing the first half of the new song at the beginning of the show’s segment and the second half at the end. As Davis puts it, “It was the special that he wore the black leather outfit.” Davis was referring to Presley’s iconic 1968 NBC Comeback Special.
Davis said he sat in Billy Strange’s garage trying to write the song. However, he said he could barely stay awake. He had started the song, but just couldn’t finish it. Davis says Billy popped up and told him that when he has trouble finishing a song, he takes a little red pill.
“What kind of pill is that?” Davis asked Strange.
“Well, the truck drivers use them. They call them Big Reds,” Strange replied.
The crowd laughs and Davis said it was the first and last time he ever took one.
“I could actually see the hands on the clock spinning. Like a helicopter blade,” Davis says jokingly. “Seriously. Anyway, I did get the song done.”
Presley liked the song and ended up using it. However, the song was shortened for time during the special and Davis goes on to treat the crowd to the unrecorded full-length verse that Elvis never used.
Priscilla Presley Pays Respects to Longtime Friend
As news broke of the legendary country songwriter’s death, Davis’ family received an outpouring of condolences.
Elvis’ wife, Priscilla, shared her grief over Davis’ passing on Twitter. She shared that his death came as a surprise and thanked him for his wonderful songs.
“Friends of Mac Davis, including myself, are overwhelmed with grief on his passing yesterday,” Presley tweeted. “This was so unexpected and a shock to all of us. May you Rest In Peace, Mac. Thank you for your beautiful songs which will keep your spirit in our hearts, my dear friend.”