According to one of his closest friends, musician and songwriter Paul Davis was more comfortable at home in Meridian than he was in the spotlight shone upon him as a result of his many hits.

Davis, 60, of Meridian, died at 7:16 a.m. Tuesday at Rush Foundation Hospital from complications derived from a heart attack Monday — his birthday.

Art Matthews, a past owner of a local radio station, has known Davis for more than 33 years. During a phone interview Tuesday morning, Matthews said the memories of Davis were flooding in.

"He didn't set out to be famous and he didn't relish traveling and touring," said Matthews. "He was very much a homebody. A nocturnal person who enjoyed people and his music. He was every bit as normal as everyone else whose talent happened to be associated with a high profile industry."

Davis is best known for his radio hits and solo career, which started worldwide in 1970. His career encompasses soul, country and pop music. Although Davis had ultimately retired from the music industry, he was in the process of sitting down and writing more music at the time of his death. He had recently written and recorded two songs, "You Ain't Sweet Enough," and "Today."

Matthews thought "Today" was a departure for Davis in writing style and he related this to Davis last week when the two men last spoke.

"The song could've been a reflection back on his own life," Matthews said. "Although he didn't say it, that song could've very easily been about the question of our mortality."

Davis' first album, A Little Bit of Paul Davis, was released in 1970. in 1974 he recorded his third album, Ride 'Em Cowboy, which garnered a Top 40 position for the title track. The same song also became a hit for Juice Newton in 1984.

Davis had his first American Top 10 single with the ballad "I Go Crazy," which peaked at #7 in 1978. "I Go Crazy" spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time set the single-song record for most consecutive weeks on the chart in the rock era. The corresponding album Singer of Songs - Teller of Tales was a modest success, peaking at #82 on the Billboard pop album chart.

After one more album, in 1981 he signed with Arista Records and had two Top 20 singles "'65 Love Affair" (which rose to #6) and "Cool Night" (which rose to #11). Davis retired from making records, except for two duet singles. The first was in 1986 with Marie Osmond, and in 1988, a collaboration with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet on "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love".

Matthews said Meridian lost a great talent adding: "None of us are promised a tomorrow. Paul lived his life to the fullest each and every day."

No funeral arrangements had been received at press time.

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