Blast From The Past – Billie Davis
Billie Davis (born Carol Hedges, 22 December 1945, Woking, Surrey, England, had hits in the 1960s, and is perhaps best remembered for the UK hit version of the song, “Tell Him” (1963) and “I Want You to Be My Baby” (1968).
Davis’ performing name was suggested by the impresario, Robert Stigwood, and was derived from those of blues singer Billie Holiday and the entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
In February 1963 Davis had her biggest success with a cover version of The Exciters‘ “Tell Him”. This song, written by Bert Russell (sometimes known as Bert Berns), was covered in the sixties by a number of other artists, including Helen Shapiro and Alma Cogan, and successfully revived in the late 1990s by Vonda Shepard, for the American Fox television program, Ally McBeal. Davis’ recording reached number ten in the UK.
In 1963, the year in which popular music was transformed by the rise of The Beatles, Davis left Decca records, with which she had had some financial disagreements only to return in the late 1960s when she made some recordings, including Chip Taylor‘s “Angel of the Morning“, on which she was backed by, amongst others, Kiki Dee and P. P. Arnold. The latter recorded the song herself and had the bigger hit in 1968.
This is however my favourite track of her’s from 1965.
Davis’ final chart entry was a Northern soul version of Jon Hendricks‘ “I Want You to Be My Baby”, originally recorded by Louis Jordan in 1952, which reached number 33 in October 1968, although sales were affected by an industrial dispute at the manufacturing plant.
Billie in Particular found much success in Spain with ‘I Want You To Be My Baby’, produced by Michael Aldred, featuring the voices of Madeline Bell , Doris Troy, Kike Dee, Kay Garner and the Moody Blues Pulled from the studio next door. Billie actually also translated and recorded a version in Spanish. “I did Top of the Pops the record was selling 12.000 a day I remember very clearly a friend of mine was looking after Joe Cocker and we were doing the same sales a day.”
Billie has never really stopped working, just a few breaks bringing up her two children, but has continued to gig and write.
She was a very close friend of Jet Harris touring with him extensively.
Following his sad recent passing she will be playing at a Jet Harris Tribute concert as below.
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