Songwriter and promoter Sheriff Tex Davis remains one of the most colorful characters in country music history -- he also co-wrote one of the most influential hits of the early rock & roll era, Gene Vincent's seminal "Be-Bop-A-Lula." Born William Doucette in Connecticut in 1914, he served in World War II before beginning his career in broadcasting, signing on as a disc jockey with Norfolk, VA-based WLOW. Fearing his surname was inappropriate for country radio, he invented the "Sheriff Tex Davis" moniker during his first day on the job, and the name stuck. In 1954 Davis moved across town to WCMS, also booking country acts to play the Norfolk Arena. In addition, he agreed to manage hometown product Vincent, a U.S. Navy veteran who was a fixture of the local nightclub circuit. Together they co-wrote "Be-Bop-A-Lula" in 1956 -- Vincent signed to Capitol soon after, although the song was relegated to the B-side of his debut single, "Woman Love." However, publisher Bill Lowery pressed up promotional copies of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and mailed them to radio outlets across the U.S., creating a grassroots hit. The record made Vincent a star, but while he and Davis collaborated on a few additional compositions, their partnership proved brief. Davis returned to radio, but in 1967 relocated to Nashville to work in the promotions department of Monument Records, where he championed the careers of country superstars like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, and Jeannie Seely. After battling a long illness, Davis died in Nashville on August 29, 2007 -- he was 93.
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