Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leland in Washington County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Tyrone Davis

 
 
Tyrone Davis Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
1. Tyrone Davis Marker (Front)
Inscription.
Front
Tyrone Davis, one of America's most popular soul singers, was born on a plantation near Leland on May 4, 1938. Davis lived in Leland before moving to Chicago, where he began his career billed as "Tyrone the Wonder Boy." From 1969 to 1988 Davis had forty-three singles on the national rhythm & blues charts, including the No. 1 hits "Can I Change My Mind," "Turn Back the Hands of Time," and "Turning Point." His aunt and uncle once operated a cafe at this site.

Rear
Tyrone Davis’ appealing brand of romantic soul music was not blues in the traditional sense, but Davis was regarded by many as a significant figure in the blues world. He was especially popular with many of the same African American listeners who appreciated bluesmen such as Little Milton, Bobby Bland, and Albert King and he often starred with these and other blues artists in concerts and festivals. Davis' songs were also staples in the repertoires of countless blues bands in the Delta, Chicago, and across the country.

Davis' favorite singers included Bland, Brook Benton, Sam Cooke, and Little Willie John. He often sang gospel songs at home with his family and has been recalled carrying a guitar around Leland as a teenager and rehearsing by himself at Ruby's Nite Spot. The son of William Branch and Ora Davis, he was
Tyrone Davis Marker (Left half of rear side) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
2. Tyrone Davis Marker (Left half of rear side)
born on the Lawrence Paxton plantation in Wilmot and attended school in Arcola until he moved with his mother, brothers, and sisters to Leland, according to his sister, Pearl Johnson. Davis later lived in Saginaw, Michigan, and Detroit, and returned to Leland before he relocated to Chicago in the late 1950s. There he worked as a valet for blues guitarist Freddie King in addition to a job at an iron castings plant where he labored alongside his friend and fellow vocalist, Otis Clay. He performed at many South and West Side clubs and taverns and recorded several 45s as "Tyrone the Wonder Boy" before his million-selling single "Can I Change My Mind" hit the charts at the end of 1968. Overnight he was catapulted onto the national rhythm & blues circuit of larger halls, theaters, and showcase nightclubs. His records consistently made the charts thereafter, outselling all of his Chicago blues and soul contemporaries, and he remained a preeminent "chitlin circuit" figure until his death in Hinsdale, Illinois, on February 9, 2005. In addition to his hit singles on Dakar, Columbia, and other labels, Davis placed twenty-eight albums on the Billboard R&B or blues charts from 1969 through 2004, with seven crossing over into the pop charts. In his later years he recorded for Jackson-based Malaco Records, and his final album, The Legendary Hall of Famer, appeared on Endzone Entertainment, a
Photos from rear of marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
3. Photos from rear of marker.
Click on photo for closeup
label owned by Indianola-born singer Willie Clayton, who told the Clarion-Ledger, "Nobody was better than Tyrone Davis. He had the magic. He was my idol."

Davis, Clayton, and Otis Clay have been among the many artists who proved that the Delta was a breeding ground not just for traditional blues artists but also for soul singers. Other Delta-born vocalists who achieved fame in soul music include Major Lance, Garland Green, Mamie "Galore" Davis, Ruby Andrews, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, J. Blackfoot, and Thelma Houston (all from Washington County), in addition to Sam Cooke, Betty Everett, Jerry Butler, James Carr, and others.
 
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 152.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 33° 24.409′ N, 90° 53.873′ W. Marker is in Leland, Mississippi, in Washington County. Marker is on North Main Street 0.1 miles north of 4th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 409 North Main Street, Leland MS 38756, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. James “Son” Thomas (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct
Looking north on North Main Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
4. Looking north on North Main Street.
line); Corner of 10 and 61 (about 400 feet away); Johnny Winter (about 600 feet away); Ruby's Nite Spot (approx. 0.2 miles away); Birthplace of Kermit the Frog (approx. ¼ mile away); Pvt. Robert T. (Bobby) Henry (approx. 9 miles away); Greenville's Writers (approx. 9.5 miles away); NRP Building (approx. 9.5 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leland.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on Tyrone Davis. (Submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Mississippi Writers and Musicians. (Submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
Tyrone Davis Marker (Left half of rear side) image. Click for full size.
By Public Domain, 1970
5. Tyrone Davis Marker (Left half of rear side)
The view south on Main Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
6. The view south on Main Street.
Highway 61 Blues mural near marker (on left). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 17, 2015
7. Highway 61 Blues mural near marker (on left).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 151 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Full clear photo of rear of marker. • Can you help?
Paid Advertisement