Skeeter Davis, with the real name Mary Frances Penick, was born on 30th December 1931 in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. She was the first child of William and Punzie Penick and had a lot of energy. She got her nick name “Skeeter” by her grandfather due to her energetic behavior. Singing was her childhood ambition and she started singing from the very beginning of her childhood. Then her whole family went to Erlangerin 1947. In Erlanger, she found new friends named Wanda Rose and Betty Jack. They started singing together in a church and became a group named as “Davis sisters”. After that, they started their career by singing on the radio station, for the WJR's program “Barnyard Frolics” until they joined the RCA victor in 1951.
In 1953, the success story started after RCA Victor producer Steve Sholes offered the Davis sisters a formal contract because of their harmony."I forgot More Than You willever know" was the first most successful song by the Davis sisters. This was an overnight success and was rated as the top class country song. But this success was interrupted by fate when Betty Jack Davis died in a car accident in 1953 and Skeeter Davis was left alone.
Skeeter Davis came back in 1958 after a break of five years and decided to continue the journey alone. She started singing as a solo vocalist. She started working with guitarist, Chet Atkins, after joining RCA victor and recorded the song "Lost to a Geisha Girl.”
This was the first solo hit song and also among the top 15 songs of the country. She continued working with guitarist Atkins who created the vocal harmony in Davis voice to resemble the voice of the Davis sisters. Many songs, like "Am I That Easy to Forget” have got the same echo like this.
The year 1959 was a great success for Skeeter Davis as she gave the top 5 country hit song "Set Him Free.” Due to this song, she was nominated for the Grammy Award and had an honor of becoming the first female singer which was nominated for Grammy. Her first appearance on the pop chart as solo was the "(I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too" in the year of 1960.
This song was also a great success as it was top rated on the country chart. In 1961, she gave a second hit song on the pop chart which was "My Last Date (With You).” This song was even more successful than the first one and rated among top 30 songs. However, the biggest success for
Davis nominated for Grammy Award for the five times, which includes four nominations for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”: ("He Says the Same Things to Me"), 1964; ("Sunglasses"), 1965; ("What Does It Take"), 1967, and "One Tin Soldier"), 1972. During these years, there were some other hit songs of Skeeter Davis which ranked very high on the country charts. Along with so many hit songs, there were some other songs which were minor hits.
Davis was the song "The End of the World" in year 1963, which was on the top of the adult contemporary charts. The song was also among the top five songs on the blues and rhythm charts. So, it became the signature song for Skeeter Davis.
After 1970, her success chart began to decline. Songs like "It's Hard to Be a Woman" and "Love Takes a Lot of My Time" were failed to make any record on the country charts. Similarly, "One Tin Soldier" was also not able to get attention of people. Major controversy of her career rose when she criticized the Nashville police after her performance at Grand Ole Opry in 1973.
Due to this criticism, her membership of Grand Ole Opry was suspended for almost a year and she has to lose many bookings during that duration. Although after this controversy, her fame declined a lot, but she continued signing until 2000.
Skeeter Davis also wrote a book for children in 1998. Then in 2001, she became a victim of breast cancer and finally she passed away due to the breast cancer in Nashville, Tennessee on 19th September 2004. She was a great star and celebrity indeed in the history of singing.