Birth Name

  Mary Frances Penick


  December 30, 1931
  Dry Ridge, Kentucky, U.S.A.


  September 19, 2004

  Nashville, Tennessee, USA


  Country, Pop, Nashville Sound


  Singer, songwriter

  Associated acts

  Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith, 

  Bobby Bare, Dottie West, George Hamilton IV

  Years Active

  1952 - 2004


  RCA Records, Mercury Records, Rounder Records


  Skeeter Davis Unofficial Site




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Mary Frances Penick, born in a two-room cabin near Glencoe, Kentucky, in 1931, was the first of William and Punzie Penick's seven kids. Her grandfather, impressed by her energy, nicknamed her "Skeeter." Around 1947 the Penicks relocated to Covington, Kentucky, where she sang with high school classmate Betty Jack Davis. As the Davis Sisters,(although they were unrelated), they started singing on Detroit radio station WJR's program Barnyard Frolics.

Their smart, assertive harmonies impressed RCA's Steve Sholes, who signed them in 1953. That summer, as their "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" headed to #1, a violent car crash left Betty Jack dead and Skeeter injured. Although she continued with Betty's sister, Georgia, as The Davis Sisters until 1956, she later embarked on a solo career.

Chet Atkins played guitar on nearly all the Davis Sisters' RCA sessions. By 1958 he ran RCA Nashville; suspecting Skeeter's voice had broader potential, he multitracked her vocals to echo the Davis Sisters sound. . She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1959. She performed on the Grand Ole Opry and recorded duets with Bobby Bare, Porter Wagoner, and George Hamilton IV.

The 1962 ballad "The End Of The World" finally gave her the massive pop country crossover success Atkins envisioned. Davis made several appearances on the pop music show American Bandstand in the early 1960's and a decade later was one of the first country artists to appear on The Midnight Special.
In 1973 during a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Skeeter dedicated a gospel song to arrested evangelists which some felt was using the Opry stage for "political" commentary. This led to a 15-month suspension from the Grand Ole Opry and created quite a controversy for her. During much of the '70s, she became somewhat of a flower child on the Grand Ole Opry. By now her chart success faded away, and Davis gave up making singles. Her last song to make the national charts was 1976's "I Love Us".

In the 1970s, she began regularly touring foreign countries such as Barbados, Singapore, and Sweden where she was among the most popular entertainers of any field. Although, Davis developed breast cancer in 1988, she continued to perform frequently throughout much of the 1990s and into 2000.

 She remained a Grand Ole Opry member until the end of her life although her last appearance singing there was in 2002. She  died of breast cancer in a Nashville, Tennessee, hospice, aged 72 on September 19, 2004.

*Reference Wikipedia




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