The Shooting Of Paul Davis

November 20, 2008

There was a headline I read the other day, something about some new study trying to solve the assassination of JFK. It’s a subject beaten lifeless for me, so I didn’t read it.

Paloma and I are more intrigued by the details (or lack of) surrounding the shooting of ‘70s soft rock singer Paul Davis. We do have more normal curiosities like what’s the story behind those statues on Easter Island and wondering when will the aliens finally show and will we, as speculated by Perry Farrell, make great pets (OK, maybe those are things I ponder).

But as for Paul Davis, we wonder who (and why) someone would shoot the man crooned I Go Crazy. He certainly never sounded threatening.

And his music seems to have made quite an impact on both of us during our respective childhoods. We snagged a copy of his LP Cool Night a few weeks back.

“You know, he was shot once,” Paloma will say when Paul Davis comes up in conversation (surprisingly more often than I would have imagined but not often enough that I think we should be concerned).

She’s had me research the shooting, but there are no details I can find beyond the basic when and where Mr. Sweet Life was shot (in Nashville, ’86).

Paloma has once or twice voiced her suspicion and concern that Davis was up to some shenanigans. I suppose that if you are hanging with dodgy characters or engaging in questionable antics, the likelihood of being shot is decidedly greater.

Of course, we may never know the story behind the shooting of Paul Davis. The thought that he might have been some scallywag – a potential drinking buddy for Gordon Lightfoot – makes for an odd contrast when listening to the man pine for his ’65 love affair

And I wonder if Paul Davis is getting hammered in some afterlife dive with Warren Zevon.

*For those unfamiliar with Paul Davis (though I’d wager if you’ve made it this far, you are acquainted), he survived his shooting in ’86, but passed away earlier this year.

Paul Davis – I Go Crazy
If Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald is the light rock Stairway To Heaven of the ’70s, then I Go Crazy is…what? I do remember when this was a hit in ’77 and it was inescapable. It seemed to always be playing over the loudspeakers at our town’s public pool that summer (and on the radio of our bus returning from swim meets).

Of course, the song’s mood works well for this time of year, too. And, I still don’t get tired of hearing this lush declaration of mental instability.

Paul Davis – Cool Night
I remember hearing Cool Night on the radio as my brother, a neighborhood friend of ours, and our friend’s uncle returned from an NBA game in the winter of ’81/82. Maybe it was because the midnight air was frigid and I’ve mentally linked it to the song title, but Cool Night always makes me think of seeing the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons that night. It’s a pleasant enough song.

Paul Davis – ’65 Love Affair
The second hit from the Cool Night album, I recall Kasey Kasem telling me that ’65 Love Affair was originally entitled ’55 Love Affair. I can’t think of a thing I learned in college (academically speaking), but I’ve managed to hold tight to such useful information.

I quite liked this song at the time, but I’m not feeling it now.

Paul Davis – Love Or Let Me Be Lonely
This song was the third hit from Cool Night, but it didn’t seem to get played much on radio where I lived. It’s a cover of a song by The Friends Of Distinction from the late ’60s? Early ’70s? I think I might have heard the original once or twice on oldies radio while channel surfing (I miss channel surfing).

Anyhow, maybe because I didn’t get burned out on it back in the ’80s, I much prefer Love Or Let Me Be Lonely to ’65 Love Affair and, possibly, Cool Night, too.