Danny Davis, who put horns in country music, dies

Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:06am EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Grammy award winner Danny Davis, who pioneered the use of horns in country music, has died aged 83, his publicist Betty Hofer said on Friday.

Davis died of a heart attack at Nashville's St. Thomas Hospital, she said.

The Nashville Brass instrumental group Davis founded in 1968 produced a brassy version of Hank Williams' "Kaw-liga" which won him a Grammy.

His only Top 20 hit was a 1980 version of Willie Nelson's "Night Life," featuring Nelson with the Nashville Brass.

Davis, who was born George Nolan, began his career in his teens playing with Gene Krupa, Bob Crosby and Art Mooney, and he later became popular draw in the country music resort town of Branson, Missouri, and in Las Vegas.

He often flew his own plane to performances, appearing at the inaugurations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

A top producer behind the scenes, Davis recorded Connie Francis and brought Herman's Hermits to the MGM label. He also produced Waylon Jennings' Grammy winning "MacArthur Park" and Don Gibson's smash hit "Rings of Gold" for RCA.

(Reporting by Pat Harris; editing by Andrew Stern and Mohammad Zargham)