The Mississippi native was just a teenager when he moved to Chicago in 1959. Davis toiled at a factory during the day and spent his evenings honing his smooth vocal style. Years of performing in the city’s west- and south-side blues clubs led to a record deal with the Four Brothers label and a job working for blues guitarist Freddie King as a valet and chauffeur.
“Tyrone the Wonder Boy” moved to Dakar Records in 1968 and found a national audience with the single, “Can I Change My Mind.” The song topped the R&B charts, and became a No. 5 pop hit. In the 1970s, the baritone scored other R&B hits with “Turn Back the Hands of Time” and “Turning Point.”
Davis continued to record albums and tour the club circuit through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, the master of soul ballads received the Pioneer Award from the R&B Foundation. His last album, “Legendary Hall of Famer,” was released in October, a month after a stroke forced him to retire. Davis remained hospitalized until his death.