Local music legend mentored Jimi Hendrix at a young age up until his death

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - He’s an icon in the music industry.  A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, known for his work with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Billy Davis is a guitar wizard who can turn anything into a musical masterpiece.

He’s seen, played and toured with some of the most respected and influential names in music history. But Davis' real gift was mentoring a young and upcoming rock icon by the name of Jimi Hendrix. 

"He would never get tired, he just wanted to play," Davis said of Hendrix.  

Davis started playing the guitar at a young age and played every single day.

"Just a guy playing a guitar and singing, and the guitar stuck in my mind that melody I never forgot it," he said.

It was at a concert in Seattle that Davis met teenage Hendricks. 

"There he stands and I’m looking him right in the face and he had a warm smile on his face and I shook his hand and said come on in," Davis said. "The only thing he wanted to know was about my guitar." 

Billy says he mentored Hendrix for years, up until his death.

"Every time he played with somebody, he would get fired because he would be up from interfering with the show," Davis said. "That’s because he knew what he had to do because he didn’t have long to be here."

Davis and Hendricks we’re friends through the ups and downs. It’s a friendship he cherishes and the time he spent with the young rock 'n' roll icon that is never far from his mind.

"I wrote a song for him called 8-month baby, and I’m still going to record it after all these years," he said. "I put it away for years, but I’m going to finish it now, yeah, I'm going to finish it."

Billy says he's done a lot with his life, everything he ever dreamed of.  One day, he wants to be remembered for being true to the music he loves, and the influence he had on the younger generation.
 

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