Sheriff Tex Davis

Rock'n'roll manager


William Douchette (Sheriff Tex Davis), music manager: born 1914; married (one son, one daughter); died Nashville, Tennessee 29 August 2007.

Many of the managers of the first rock'n'roll stars had colourful names – Lord Jim Ferguson (Bill Haley), Colonel Tom Parker (Elvis Presley), Sheriff Tex Davis (Gene Vincent) – adopted with the idea of making both themselves and their clients seem more important. The names also implied that here were men to be trusted, which was often far from the case.

Although Sheriff Tex Davis gave his full name as William Beauregard Davis, he was born William Douchette in Connecticut in 1914. He served during the Second World War, then, under the GI Bill, he attended a radio school in New York. He commentated on baseball at WLOW in Norfolk, Virginia; when the season was over, the station asked him to present a country music programme. He thought it was fitting that a sheriff should be playing western records and began calling himself Sheriff Tex Davis. By 1955, he had moved to WCMS and was hosting talent contests.

In February 1956, Elvis Presley performed at Monticello Auditorium in Norfolk, Virginia. The former US Navy boilerman Gene Vincent was captivated with the performance and despite being on crutches as the result of a motorcycle accident, he won Davis's next talent contest with his version of Elvis's "Heartbreak Hotel".

In April 1956, Davis sent a tape to an executive at Capitol Records, Ken Nelson, who was searching for his own Presley. Nelson invited Vincent and some local musicians to Nashville, Tennessee. Following Presley's lead, Nelson used an echo chamber and it was employed to its full extent on Vincent's hit "Be Bop a Lula".

How the song came to be written is a mystery but it seems that Vincent wrote the song with a fellow patient in hospital, Donald Graves. Davis secured Graves's rights to the song, probably for $25. The record became an international hit and there are hundreds of cover versions including the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cliff Richard, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Davis left WCMS to manage Vincent and put his name on several more of Vincent's compositions, including "Race With the Devil", "Who Slapped John" and "Important Words". Vincent was a troublesome and troubled performer, however, constantly suffering from his leg injury and feeling he was being exploited. Things came to a head in November 1956 when he was booked into the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas and the engagement was cut short. Davis had had enough, but excused Vincent's shortcomings: "The boy was always in pain. He had to see a doctor in every town."

Davis then spent several years in charge of promotion at Monument records. While he was there, Vincent, down on his luck, asked about a record deal, but nothing came of it.

Spencer Leigh

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Automation Test Lead (C#, Selenium, SQL, XML, Web-Services)

£50000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Automation Tes...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Long Term Primary Teacher - Stockport - Start ASAP

£90 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Experienced Primary...

Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering