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Space Age Music Maker

Meyer Davis


  • Born 10 January 1893, Washington, DC
  • Died 5 April 1976, New York City

Along with Lester Lanin, Meyer Davis invented the concept of the dance band contractor and controlled a healthy share of the music market for East Coast society functions through for over 30 years. Davis organized his first band in the early 1920s, and just a few years later, already had two groups appearing under his name at the same time--one at the Willard Hotel in Washington and one at a hotel in Philadelphia, with Davis shuttling between the two.

This led him to develop contacts with local musicians and country clubs, hotels, and other facilities owners, and he set up a booking office that began taking on the job of providing a "Meyer Davis Orchestra" for everything from debutante balls and weddings to Presidential galas. His organization and reputation for delivering a consistent if unremarkable quality of dance music put him well ahead of most local bands. His main competition was Lanin, who came on the scene a little later, and between themselves, they divided up most of the prestigious social functions of Washington, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston through the 1950s and 1960s.

As time went on, Davis concentrated on the business side and appeared less and less with his group. He did record occasionally, though, and like Lanin, he always kept a sampling of current pop hits circulating through his repertoire--leading to such specimins as his twist album for Cameo/Parkway (home of ur-Twister Chubby Checkers). As the song goes, "You just can't resist the Meyer Davis twist."


Recordings

  • Meyer Davis and His Orchestra, RCA Victor LPM-1756
  • Meyer Davis Cordially Invites You to Dance, ABC-Paramount ABCS-176
  • On with the Dance, ABC-Paramount ABCS-197
  • Meyer Davis Plays the Twist, Cameo-Parkway LP-1014


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