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Paul Davis was a member of a local group called the Six Soul Survivors around 1966 and later in another group called the Endless Chain. In 1968 he was a writer for Malaco Records, based in Jackson, Mississippi. Ilene Berns, widow of Bert Berns, signed Davis to Bang Records in 1969, and in 1970, released a cover version of The Jarmels' hit "A Little Bit of Soap", reaching No. 52 on the Billboard pop chart. His first album, A Little Bit of Paul Davis, was released in 1970. In 1974, he recorded his third album, Ride 'Em Cowboy, and the title track, his first top 40 single, peaked at No. 23 on January 18, 1975. (The same song became a Top 40 Country hit for Juice Newton in 1984.) Davis also reached No. 35 in September 1976 with "Superstar", a tribute song not related to any of the 1971 hits by that name.

Davis had his first American Top 10 single with the ballad "I Go Crazy," which after 30 weeks on the Hot 100 peaked at No. 7 on March 18, 1978. "I Go Crazy" spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time set the record for most weeks on the chart. The follow-up, "Sweet Life", also did well, peaking at No. 17. On May 17, 1980, his gospel-tinged "Do Right" peaked at No. 23, and Casey Kasem noted the religious aspects of this song, along with other songs before it, on that day's edition of American Top 40. Davis was active on Bang Records when the label folded in the early 1980s

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