Johnny Davis

The first seeds of Arrow’s music business dreams were sown in 1963, when he met a teenage Johnny Davis and his ten-year old sister Mary Ann. The Davis kids were doo-wop lovers who’d grown up singing harmony on neighborhood street corners. While Mary Ann was a capable vocalist, Johnny was the true talent, blessed with a wounded tenor that climbed stunning falsetto heights—its tender conveyance would make for some of Bandit’s most emotionally vulnerable songs. Johnny and Mary Ann Davis would form the core of what became the first group to record for Brown’s newly minted Bandit label. In a moment of divine self-inspiration, Brown named the group the Arrows. In 1972, Brown decided to dissolve the Arrows, in order to focus on Johnny Davis as a solo act. Brown doubled down on the heart pounding “You’ve Got To Crawl To Me.” With a driving organ, flashes of wah-wah guitar, and hauntingly urgent backing vocals, it was the most commercially relevant single the label had released. Unfortunately, Johnny Davis’ first solo side would also be his last. Early in 1973, Davis’ broken body was discovered in a dumpster where he’d landed after falling headfirst from the roof of a twelve-story warehouse. Davis had been Arrow Brown’s star, the vessel of all his ambitions. And, suddenly, he was gone.

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