Legendary ‘In The Ghetto’ songwriter Mac Davis has died at the age of 78

Davis wrote a selection of top hits for Elvis Presley

Mac Davis, who wrote such hits as ‘In The Ghetto’ and ‘A Little Less Conversation’ for Elvis Presley as well as leading his own esteemed career on stage and screen, has died at the age of 78.

Announcing his passing, Davis’ longtime manager Jim Morey said: “Mac Davis has been my client for over 40 years, and, more importantly, my best friend.

“He was a music legend, but his most important work was that as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. I will miss laughing about our misadventures on the road and his insightful sense of humour.”


Davis is thought to have died after suffering complications that arose from heart surgery.

While Davis achieved huge success writing hits for Elvis, he also became a star in his own right when songs such as the Grammy-nominated ‘Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me’ went to No.1 in 1972, alongside ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ and ‘Rock N Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)’.

He went on to score his own NBC Variety series in 1974 and was subsequently crowned Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

Davis was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1942, but experienced his first taste of success after relocating to Los Angeles in the 1960s where he became a staff writer for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company.

When working with Presley, ‘In The Ghetto’ proved to be his greatest success — charting at No.2 on the Hot 100 chart and securing covers by more than 170 artists, including Dolly  Parton.


In later years, he worked with the likes of Bruno Mars, penning ‘Young Girls’ from his second album ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’.

Paying tribute, country star Kenny Chesney told Billboard: “I met Mac as a young artist just starting out on my journey, when he was already a legend and a songwriting hero to me.

“He welcomed me into his home, and turned that tremendous creative light on me. Even though he’d written ‘In The Ghetto’ for Elvis and had so many incredible hits of his own, he made me feel like what I was doing mattered.

“A small town boy who’d achieved the greatest kinds of fame, he remained a good guy, a family man. That was Mac: a giant heart, quick to laugh and a bigger creative spirit. I was blessed to have it shine on me.”