Producer Carl Davis, architect of ‘the Chicago sound,’ dies at 77, from Chicago Sun Times.
"The iconic music producer who shaped what became known as “the Chicago Sound” died Thursday at his home in Summerville, S.C. He was 77 years old. Mr. Davis had been suffering from lung disease. Mr. Davis and wife Dedra Davis relocated from Chicago to South Carolina in 2009.
Mr. Davis was one of the first African-American A&R directors and produced numerous hit songs for the Columbia Records subsidiary Okeh Records.
He was to Chicago soul music what the Chess brothers were to blues. His first multi-million-selling song was Gene Chandler’s 1962 smash “Duke of Earl.” Follow-up production efforts incuded Jackie Wilson’s 1967 hit “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” Major Lance’s “Monkey Time” (recorded in 1963) and the Chi-Lites 1972 ballad “Oh Girl.”
Mr. Davis connected with singers in a direct manner that translated to the listener. His other major hits ranged from the 1970 smash “Turn Back the Hands of Time” by Tyrone Davis (no relation) to the Dells’ beautiful “Stay in My Corner,” which was a hit in 1965 and 1968.
Beyonce’s hit “Crazy in Love” samples the Davis-produced Chi-Lites tune “Are You My Woman.”
One of Mr. Davis’s most underchampioned artists was Walter Jackson, who turned the listener’s heart inside-out on his cresting 1964 ballad “What Would You Do.” Mr. Davis liked to tell the story of how Elton John pitched him songs to get to Jackson, who died of a stroke at age 45 in 1983. Jackson had polio and performed on crutches, but Mr. Davis was enamored with his powerful voice and in 1962 encouraged Jackson to relocate from Detroit to Chicago.