2011 - Booking Agent/Promoter
Jerry Davis was born and raised in Omaha, NE. An outstanding athlete at Central High, he won the National AAU Wrestling meet on April 12, 1953. He had an early interest in music and, during his high school years at Central he performed in various venues.
His passion for music led him to write some of his own material. In 1959, while in college, he and a friend wrote a song titled "To Prove Our Love Is True." Jerry then recorded the song as a single and it was produced on the DOLTON label. The DOLTON Company was located in Seattle WA at that time. This was his first release as a performer.
In 1960 Jerry's family relocated to Phoenix AZ. It was there that he became acquainted with Floyd Ramsey, the owner of Audio Recorders, a Phoenix recording studio. One of the more famous performers at Audio Recorders was Duane Eddy. Continuing his recording career, Jerry recorded a song entitled "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman." The record was released on Ramsey's Ramco label. According to Jerry, the record was a flop but it cemented his relationship with Floyd Ramsey and the two later collaborated on many record productions.
While in Arizona Jerry was contacted by an Omaha friend concerning the ‘Screamers’, A Sioux City band. He received a tape of the Screamers' recent recording session in Oklahoma City . He was intrigued by their treatment of the Chuck Berry hit "Roll Over Beethoven." He and Ramsey offered to produce the record on their ‘Palms’ label. As the record gained air play, it also gained notice by major recording labels who wanted to lease the record. Capitol and Jamie Records both offered album deals. Jamie also agreed to put the band on Dick Clark's “American Bandstand.” That became the deciding factor as the band, now known as the Velaires signed with the Jamie label.
Through his connection with the Velaires, Jerry wound up producing records for other Midwest bands. Notable among these was a group called Greg Scott & the Embers who recorded "Tree in the Meadow" on Ramsey and Davis' Riviera label. Greg Scott was, at that time, the stage name of Tom Brown an IRRMA Hall of Famer with the Gas Company. Another was Don Sohl and the Roadrunners, a Norfolk NE band then booking through Sioux City 's C&M Enterprises. Sohl's terrific instrumental, "Ticker Tape" was released on the Palms label that had launched the Velaires’ hit. However, when Waylon Jennings approached Davis and asked him to produce his recordings, Jerry told him, “I don’t do country.”
In the early 1960s bands that had the distinction of having released records (other than garage records) had a great advantage when it came to securing bookings for personal appearances. They were also able to command higher prices and to expand their territory considerably.
Through the 1960s, Jerry continued to work with and produce records for many Midwest bands. He and Ramsey promoted groups on their own labels (Palms and Ramco) and also on some of the national labels. In 1967, Jerry produced a song called "Shaggy Dog" by Danny & the Velaires that was released on the Brent label. The recording was recently featured as part of the soundtrack for the movie “Pineapple Express."
Jerry Davis's efforts were a major contributing factor in the success of several Iowa and other Midwest performers. His early passion for music and his own experiences as a performer gave him great insight into the business of music and enabled him to help many of the young musicians of his day. For his skill and expertise, he joins the IRRMA Hall of Fame Class of 2011.