Billy Davis and Anna Records©2005JCMarion


Roquel Davis, known as Billy, was born in July of 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Wayne State University and the Maurice King School of Music. In his early twenties Davis hooked up with Chess Records and provided that company with hit songs such as "Seesaw" for The Moonglows and "A Kiss From Your Lips" for The Flamingos. In the mid fifties Davis began dating Gwen Gordy the sister of budding Detroit musical kingpin Berry Gordy Jr. Davis teamed up with Berry Gordy using the pseudonym Tyran Carlo wrote a number of hits for Jackie Wilson, and such late fifties songs "Jim Dandy Got Married" for LaVern Baker, "You Got What It Takes" for Marv Johnson, and "Got A Job" for The Miracles. Davis also was part of the management team for some of the early Motown artists. Davis and Gwen Gordy then went on to form Anna Records named for Gwen's other sister in April of 1959.

Billy Davis returned to Chess Records in the mid sixties having success with "Rescue Me" for Fontella Bass. In the late nineteen sixties Davis took an offer to go into advertising, and as with his other endeavors he found nothing but success. He is best remembered for a series of advertising songs and jingles for Coca Cola ("I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing", "It's The Real Thing", and "Coke Is It", among others). Roquel "Billy" Davis passed away in September of 2004. He had a varied musical career, and one of his lasting accomplishments was the formation of Anna Records which was the first public notice of the coming Motown juggernaut.

In early 1960 Barret Strong recorded a song called "Money". Berry Gordy felt that this was a hit record for sure and so it was leased to Anna Records because of that label's distribution set up with the Chess Record Company. The record became a huge national hit and gave Gordy the emphasis to push his Tamla and Motown labels into a national hit making machine. But - it really got started with Anna. Here is the known output of the label which started it all.

101 - Voice Masters - Oops I'm Sorry / Hope And Pray – 1959
102 - Voice Masters – Needed / Needed (For Lovers Only) –April 1959
1103 - Hill Sisters - Hit And Run Away Love / Advertising For Love – 1959
1104 - Bob Kayli - Never More / You Knows What To Do – 1959
1105 - Wreg Tracey - Take Me Back (I Was Wrong) / All I Want Is You – 1959
1106 and 1107- Paul Gayten - The Hunch / Hot Cross Buns – 1959
1108 - Johnny & Jackey - Lonely & Blue / Let's Go To A Movie Baby - 1960
1109 - Larry Darnell - With Tears In My Eyes / I'll Get Along Somehow - 1960
1110 – Falcons - This Heart Of Mine / Just For Your Love - 1960
1111 - Barrett Strong - Money (That's What I Want) / Oh! I Apologise - 1960
1112 - Paul Gayten - Beatnik Beat / Scratch Back 1960
1113 - Letha Jones - I Need You / Black Clouds - 1960
1114 - Ty Hunter & The Voice Masters - Orphan Boy / Everything About You - 1960
1115 - Herman Griffin & The Mello-Dees - Hurry Up And Marry Me / Do You Want To See My Baby -
1116 - Barrett Strong - Yes, No, Maybe So / You Knows What To Do - 1960
1117 - Ruben Fort - So Good / I Feel It -1960
1118 - Allan (Bo) Story - Blue Moon / Don't -1960
1119 - Joe Tex - All I Could Do Was Cry (Part 1) / All I Could Do Was Cry (Part 2) - 1960
1120 - Johnnie & Jackie - Hoy Hoy / No One Else But You - 1960
1121 - Bill (Winehead Willie) Murray & George (Sweet Lucy) Copeland - Big Time Spender (Part 1&2)
1122 - Cap-Tans - Tight Skirts And Crazy Sweaters / I'm Afraid - 1960
1123 - Ty Hunter & Voice Masters – Everytime / Free - 1960
1124 - Joe Tex & The Vibrators - I'll Never Break Your Heart (Part 1) / (Part 2) - 1960
1125 - Lamont Anthony (Dozier) - Let's Talk It Over / Benny The Skinny Man - 1960
1126 - Wreg Tracey - All I Want For Christmas (Is Your Love) / Take Me Back (I Was Wrong) - 1960
1127 - David Ruffin - I'm In Love / One Of These Days - 1961
1128 - Joe Tex - Baby You're Right / Ain't It A Mess – 1961

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