Mac Davis watches Elvis perform for the first time

by Jason Mellard / Center for Texas Music History at Texas State

Episode #5: Elvis Inspires Mac Davis / Produced by Jack Anderson

On June 3, 1955, Mac Davis saw Elvis Presley play a Pontiac dealership in Lubbock. Elvis was riding the crest of the rockabilly wave that his Sun Records singles set in motion. Mac Davis was a thirteen year-old at a car dealership. Their paths would cross again later, in a more productive setting.

CBS Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

In the 1950s, Elvis Presley criss-crossed Texas constantly, from Alpine to Paris, Gilmer to Gonzales, at each stop inspiring his young audiences to follow in his footsteps. Buddy Holly attended one of those shows, as did Waylon Jennings.

Stars in his eyes, young Davis left Lubbock for Atlanta after high school graduation to pursue a career as a songwriter. While working for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company writing songs for her and other artists like B. J. Thomas, Davis would find his way back to Elvis. Presley recorded seven Mac Davis songs including late-career classics “In the Ghetto” and “A Little Less Conversation.”

Davis’s songwriting success translated into a recording career of his own. His biggest hit, 1981’s “Texas in My Rear View Mirror,” explored his relationship with the hometown he left behind, when he chased Elvis’s star so many years before.

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