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100 Greatest Women, #69: Gail Davies

gail-davies100 Greatest Women

#69

Gail Davies

Some artists simply come along before their time. They lay out a path that other artists will follow, but they don’t reap the benefits of it. Gail Davies was one of those artists, a nineties woman who just happened to come along in the seventies.

Davies was born into a country music family, the daughter of country singer Tex Dickerson. She experimented with jazz music while married to a man who performed it, but she returned to country music quickly. In Los Angeles, she found work as a session singer, backing up A&M artists like Neil Young. She became friends with Joni Mitchell, which led to her engineer Henry Levy teaching Davies the intricacies of the recording studio.

When she saw her older brother Ron Davies have a song of his recorded by David Bowie and Three Dog Night, she was inspired. She bought a guitar, began writing songs, and discovered she had a talent for it. Soon, she was in Nashville, signed to EMI Publishing. Her first hit as a writer was “Bucket to the South”, which went to No. 14 for Ava Barber in 1978. This helped her land a recording deal of her own, and her self-titled debut was released that same year on Lifesong.

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