Re-Paul Davis/Cool Night

Thank you for shining a light on the great Paul Davis. My mother Ilene Berns signed Paul to my father’s Bang Records label shortly after his death in 1967, presiding over a decade of hits that included “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” “Sweet Life” and “I Go Crazy,” which once held the record for the longest chart run on the Billboard Hot 100. “Cool Night” and “65 Love Affair’ were his last releases as a pop artist, after which he moved to Nashville and wrote a number of country hits for the likes of Tanya Tucker and Dan Seals. Paul was a true father figure to my siblings and I, and a musical genius the world knows little about.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi in 1948, Paul had a regional hit with “Mississippi River” in 1969 that caught my mother’s attention. She had inherited a label with no artists, as Van Morrison and Neil Diamond left Bang immediately after my father’s death, and brought Paul up to New York City to record my dad’s first hit, “A Little Bit of Soap,” using the same studio musicians that my father worked with during his epic 7-year run. Too broke to pay Paul a signing bonus, she gave him my dad’s convertible Jaguar XKE. Not long afterward, we moved south to Atlanta where my mother relocated Bang Records, built the legendary WEB IV Studios, and brought Paul to Georgia. The rest is history. Paul Davis would become one of the greatest singer-songwriters of his time.

Unfortunately, Paul’s legacy is also among the most obscure of that era. Due to a fear of flying, he never properly toured. And a deep shyness kept him out of the public spotlight. Paul’s sudden death a day after his 60th birthday put stop to his extraordinary musical output. But to those in the know, Paul Davis’ expansive body of work is as rich and diverse as any of his peers. And like my father, who has been left out of the Song Hall, Paul Davis deserves to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Brett Berns


BANG! The Bert Berns Story


Thank you for remembering the genius that was Paul Davis.

“I Go Crazy”, “Ride ‘em Cowboy”, “65 Love Affair”, “Cool Night”………..lot of hits there.

I had the pleasure of working “65 Love Affair”…………IF my memory is correct, it was originally “55 Love Affair”…..Clive got him to change it to 65.

Mike Bone


So great to remember Paul Davis.

Paul was an incredibly generous and kind person. At the time in the late 70s and early 80s Atlanta was struggling to find its mark in the music recording business, but Paul and engineer/producer Ed Seay at Web IV Studios we’re making a real go of it.

Web was just a few doors down from the studio I worked at, and it was a real treat to be able to ring the bell and be let, no matter what time of night it was.

Later on I worked on some songs with his backing band. Paul came in to do some backing vocals and the vibe was just so incredibly pure, peaceful and REAL!

He passed away too early in 2008, but his influence was so perfect.

Will Eggleston


Paul was a quiet and shy guy. He is gone before his time.

We sat in his Atlanta basement studio with Ed Seay, his friend and producer, and marveled at their artistry.

Thanks for this, Bob.

Jon Sinton


Here here Bob! I’ve been a songwriter/working musician for 40 years and there is something about
‘Cool Night’ that has always pulled me in…Like when it’s 3:30 pm and your driving and you just have to have a Big pull into the Mac drive through in your own guilty pleasure world, sit in the parking lot savouring every bite.  I never bought the record..I don’t know anyone who did, but that song never gets switched when it comes on the radio…It has a secret sauce in it that is irresistible.  Most of my musician friends agree.  Simple soft rock genius.
Thanks for the piece
Geoff Gibbons
Vancouver BC


Today’s message really struck me. In 1981, I was an “air personality” on an Indiana radio station (they didn’t like the term “disc jockey” as all the music was on carts). I was thunderstruck by a woman I met at an event and we married just ten weeks later. “Cool Night” was in heavy rotation then. I worked my air shift on Friday and every listener knew I was getting married that night. As I came out of “Cool Night,” I called my soon-to-be wife on the air to tell her the weather forecast for our honeymoon the next few days in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.


Unfortunately, I had “Cool Night” on so loud over the studio speakers, she didn’t hear me say, “We’re going on the air…” and when I told her what the weather was going to be, she responded…live on air…”Honey, how much time are you planning to spend outside, anyway?”


I heard about that – and lines like “How ‘cool’ were your nights in Tennessee?” — for the first year of our marriage!


Life changes. Paul Davis is gone, as you mentioned. My wife passed from cancer 25 years after our wedding. “I Go Crazy” is a Paul Davis song that helped get me through that.


We will all deal with loss. You don’t “get over” it…you will “go crazy” from time to time…but you have to move forward. And music will help you do just that.


Scott McKain


Wow. What a flashback, Bob.

My parents would go out to dinner on Saturday nights, leaving kid me with a babysitter and a night of junk tv…

(CHiPs, Love Boat, Fantasy Island)…

Except “Solid Gold,” which gave a suburban, budding musician in the making a listen to the current pop hits, and a peek at the coolest new keyboard gear.

(“Who cared if they were lip-synching? Did you see that Prophet-5?” I would say in protest to my friends).

I remember this video like it was yesterday. It’s still a great song. And he died way too soon.

Jon Regen


All of this is spot on!…particularly Steely Dan not being Yacht Rock (not a chance how did they ever get lumped into that) I’ll fight people over this …lol

Christopher Cross’ “Sailing” a song I may have despised in my youth, is in fact a Masterpiece upon reflection

And album budgets!…back in my major label days we would send a band into the studio for months or at least a month, now as a label owner myself, we’re lucky if we can do 7-10 days in the studio, but thanks to pre-production and home studios these days, sometimes that’s enough…but to your point, no one is going in making Pet Sounds or or spending a day on the cymbal sounds anymore.


Brian Hetherman

Cerberus Mgmt / Curve Music


For those of us born in the late 60’s to early 70’s, soft rock/yacht rock music was a staple of our youth. We were trapped in the back of our parent’s station wagon and we were constantly subjected to Ambrosia, Little River Band, Bread, and yes Paul Davis. We hated it at the time but it sunk in to our brains and it stuck. It stuck so well that now we subject our children to those same songs and they (begrudgingly) love them too. Songs like “Cool Night” are best enjoyed on a Sunday morning with fresh coffee and the New York Times. It’s like a warm blanket.

For your consideration this Sunday morning, I have this playlist that I made which is in the top 1% of the most popular on Spotify. It only has 500 likes which says something about user generated playlists on Spotify but I’m proud of it nonetheless.

Thanks for a great post about the greatest guilty pleasure music ever.

Alex Cobb


So you made me listen to I Go Crazy back to back with Same Old Lang Syne. It could be the same piano on both songs. They are as mushy as it gets but perfect nonetheless. Both Paul Davis and Dan Fogelberg died too young.

Merck Mercuriadis


I grew up near Salem, Mass in the late 70s where there was nothing to do at night except cruise around with my friends and do bong hits. I drove a real s..tbox, but — bizarrely — it came with a Blaupunkt radio and quad speakers. My friends and I would drive to nowhere and back, going up and down the radio dial from WBCN to WAAF (I think those were the call letters), singing to Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Humble Pie, Ten Years After. But when Toto came on the radio, we’d get quiet, hopefully we’d be driving on some country back road, and we’d all sing to ourselves.

‘Cool Night’ … I couldn’t place it. Then I got to the lyrics at end of your email and I started singing out loud. I don’t know why but it made me think of ‘Guitar Man’ by Bread, a song I used to sing while spinning in circles in a Big Wheel before I learned how to ride a bike.

What a nice way to wake up. Thank you Bob.

Pamela Harris


Wow man…

46 + years in as a professional musician and you think I have thin skin and I am weak?? Like i cant stand the fire? Come the f..k on…..

Thanks for making me sound like a little baby dick.

Steve Lukather


Can you imagine Paul Davis’ career if he was not on Bang Records?
Stan Goman

Comments are closed