Detroit Music Producer Don Davis Dies At 75

After his disco-era career, Davis helmed one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks.

With a keen ear for sound and a knack for numbers, Don Davis carved out one of the most distinctive high-profile careers in Detroit.

Davis, a musician and producer who went on to helm one of the country’s biggest black-owned banks, died Thursday at 75. He leaves behind a litany of hits – including work with his cousin Johnnie Taylor, the Dramatics, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. – and a three-decade stint as CEO of First Independence Bank.

Lisa Wilmore, a spokesman for the family, would say only that Davis died after a brief illness, with more details to be released later.

It was a unconventional career that took him from the wild-and-woolly world of music to the buttoned-down realm of finance. Fittingly, his big break in Detroit music came with Money, the 1960 Barrett Strong hit that featured Davis’s guitar work.

Having worked up through the ranks of Detroit music in the 1960s – first as a session guitarist at Motown – Davis headed to Memphis soul label Stax Records in the late 1960s, turning out his first big production hit: Taylor’s 1968 song Who’s Making Love, which topped Billboard’s R&B chart.



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