Skeeter Davis: Biography and Career

Skeeter Davis , Of original name Mary Frances Penick, was an American singer of country music.

Among his most remembered songs is"The End of The World"of 1962. She was one of the first women to acquire an important fame in the country genre.


Personal life

Skeeter Davis was born on December 30, 1931 on a farm in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, being the first of seven children in the family of Sarah and William Penick. His grandfather, impressed by the energy of his character was who the nickname"Skeeter", which is a local term to name mosquitoes. At that time, still a girl , Skeeter chose country music as one of his personal passions.

Davis married three times, the first with Kenneth Depew. From 1960 to 1964, Davis was married to the well-known personality of WSM radio and television, Ralph Emery. Skeeter received further strong criticism from her ex-husband, in Emery's autobiography.

In 1987, it contracted marriage with Joey Spampitano of NRBQ, which would end in divorce also for 1996.

After his third separation, Davis decided to settle in a colonial-style mansion of several hundred acres in Brentwood, Tennessee. She spent her time surrounded by dogs, Siamese cats, a dove locked in a gold cage and an ocelot named Fred.

Their extreme religious beliefs made it refuse to appear in places that sold toxic drinks. She even stopped tobacco production from her farm explaining that:"As a Christian, I think it hurts my body."

In 1993 he wrote his autobiography called"Bus Fare To Kentucky", referring to his song of 1971. In 1988 he was diagnosed with breast cancer and on September 19, 2004 he died because of this cause at the age of 73 years in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

Musical career

Skeeter Davis's musical life began when in 1947 he met Betty Jack Davis in a singing session at his high school. It was from that relationship where the duo The Davis Sisters were born.

After months of travel and public appearances, they managed to sign a contract for RCA Victor. The first single was called"I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know"and became a hit, coming to be positioned as the best country song in 1953.

The success was coming for The Davis Sisters, but its way to the fame was truncated by the tragic death of Betty Jack in a road accident and that left to Davis in serious condition.

After months of recovery, Skeeter managed to make his first appearance as a soloist and in a short time had become one of the best country singers of 1957. Two years later he managed to become a regular member of the"Grand Ole Pry" Best performers in the music industry.

During the 1960s, Skeeter was one of RCA's most successful artists. It managed to enter 38 country hits to the lists of the most listened and even 13 of them managed to make their place also in the lists of the pop genre.

Among these songs was"The End Of The World", song that would become the most popular of its repertoire and a millionaire success.

This hit reached the second place of the best songs of country as of pop in 1963, being in the tenth place for the consolidated of the year. It also managed to position itself in the UK listings, reaching position 18.

Davis performed many musical tours during the '60s and' 70s, not only in the United States and Canada but also in Europe, where he was very popular.

His studio career slowed down a bit during the 1970s, but his hits included"I'm A Lover","Bus Fare To Kentucky"and"One Tin Soldier."

For 1973, he had a small hit with the Bee Gees called"Do not Forget To Remember"and a country song called"I Can not Believe That It's All Over". Only two more singles made it to the charts, being the last of them"I Love Us"of Mercury Records in 1976. Two years earlier, Davis had abandoned his long contract with RCA.

Later Davis recorded several tribute albums, which includes one to the artist Buddy Holly, counting with the participation of Waulon Jennings in the guitar and also with Dolly Parton, one of his closest friends. He also re-recorded"May You Never Be Alone,"a hit from his time in"The Davis Sisters"with NRBQ in 1985.

In 1973, Skeeter was suspended from his performances on"Grand Ole Pry"for controversial statements against the Nashville Police Department that did not sit well on the conservative side of the show's directives.

However, due to her Jean Shepard interceding, Davis was reinstated in the show two years after the act, where he remained until shortly before his death in 2002.

In an interview given to Country Music Beat in January 1975, she said the following when asked about her suspension of Grand Ole Pry:

"I would love to sing there again. In 1959, when I signed with the Opry, no one ever told me,"Skeeter, now you will not be allowed to sing gospel music or religious songs, or ever say anything about being a Christian." In other words, there was never anyone to tell me that, it was never said anything about it."


  1. Ronstadt-Linda. Skeeter Davis. [Online] February 18, 2013. [Quoted on: December 22, 2016].
  2. Goodreads. Bus Fare to Kentucky: The Autobiography of Skeeter Davis. [Online] Cited on: December 22, 2016.
  3. Billboard. Opry Star Skeeter Davis Dies. [Online] September 9, 2004. [Quoted on: December 22, 2016.]
  4. CMT Artists. About Skeeter Davis. [Online] [Quoted on: December 22, 2016.]
  5. Dicogs. Skeeter Davis. [Online] [Quoted on: December 22, 2016.]
  6. Oldies. Skeeter Davis. [Online] [Quoted on: December 22, 2016.]
  7. Ronstadt-Linda. An Interview with Skeeter Davis. [Online] [Quoted on: December 22, 2016.]

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