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betty davis

Betty Davis

b. Betty O. Mabry, 26th July 1945, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Betty Davis was, at one time, married to the late Miles Davis.

Her first twelve years of her life she spent on her grandmother's farm in Durham, North Carolina where she was born.

Some of her time was spent in nearby Greensboro, however, when she was twelve, the family moved to industrial Pittsburgh, where her father held a job as foreman in one of the city's numerous steel mills.

When she turned sixteen, Betty relocated to New York to study apparel design at the city's Fashion Institute of Technology.

During the day, she would work as a shop assistant or secretary so that she could study during the evenings.

In her teens she wrote a song called 'The Cake Of Love', however, it wasn't until 1966 that she went down to the old Electric Circus club where the Chambers Brothers were headlining and presented them with a song, that she had penned, entitled 'Uptown In Harlem'.

The duo included it in their first album for Columbia and Betty's name (Mabry, at the time) appeared on a record for the first time.

Betty then started getting into modelling and became successful in this field, heading fashion shows and being featured in the magazines Seventeen, Ebony and Glamour.

Betty soon left this environment and, in 1968, she met and married Miles Davis at the age of 23.

Miles Davis divorced her in 1969, saying she was 'too young and wild' for him and was, apparently, suspecting her of having an affair with Jimi Hendrix.

Betty travelled to New York and London and returned to modelling.

She was one of the first Black models to arrive in London, however, her real passion was music.

By 1971, Betty's own musical career had been revitalised.

She arrived back in New York with the intention of taking some of the songs she had written in London to the group Santana.

Her musical connections enabled her to get some of the best musicians on the West Coast for her first album.

These included Larry Graham playing bass and Gregg Errico (Sly Stone's drummer).

Betty used the Pointer Sisters for some of the background voices.

Betty Davis

At that time, they were singing with Dave Mason and Hugh Masekela.

Some of the songs from that album were originally destined for the Commodores who had then just signed with Motown.

The song 'Game Is My Middle Name' the group used on their demo disc that convinced Motown to sign them and they recorded the song 'Walking Up The Road' on that same session.

Betty flew down to Georgia to get to know the group because they were all at the Tuskeegie College.

One track from the debut album was entitled 'If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up'.

The song had one or two 'suggestive' lines in it and it was considered so bad that the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) called Betty and suggested that she was a disgrace to her race!

The song was banned in Detroit and considered in such bad taste in Kansas City that the local radio station there was picketed when they inadvertently played the track on the air!

A second album followed for the Just Sunshine imprint which was a Iittle less contentious and sold well.

In 1975, Betty joined Island Records and released a 45, followed by the album 'Nasty Gal'.

Betty Davis largely disappeared from the music scene following these releases, however an aborted 1979 session has been released on several occasions, once released under the title of 'Crashin' From Passion' and also under the title, 'Hangin' Out In Hollywood'.

Betty lived in Homestead, Pennsylvania (where her publishing house is located).

Betty DavisBetty Davis

Real Player


Betty Davis (MPC Records 1973)

They Say I'm Different (MPC Records 1974)

Nasty Gal (MPC Records 1975)

Hangin' out in Hollywood (Charly Records 1995)

Crashin' from Passion (Razor & Tie Records 1996)

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