Country Dick Montana

2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

Jesse Davis

There can be no doubt that Jesse Davis has had an amazing life in music. A sophisticated jazz and standards vocalist, he has been a staple of San Diego’s clubs and lounges for over five decades, entertaining hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

But It’s been a multi-faceted career, with an international reach. Davis was a star attraction during Las Vegas’s heyday, breaking into the circuit with a performance strong enough to make Frank Sinatra, who was present at his audition, take notice. On Sinatra’s recommendation, Davis got the job and he was off on a career that’s seen him perform throughout the U.S., England, Australia and Mexico.

Davis has dozens of recordings to his credit, most recently 2010’s album, It’s About Love with singer Darci Daniels. However, his status as a soul music luminary was sealed with the release of his 1967 debut single “Gonna Hang On In There Girl.” Now considered a Northern Soul classic, the song has retroactively brought him fame in England and through reissues, brought his music to new generations of fans.

Meanwhile, Davis has been active in television. In addition to notable international appearances such as on Mexico’s Siempre en Domingo and Australia’s Bandstand, Davis was also featured in family friendly TV specials starring the beloved canine star Benji, including 1978’s The Phenomenon of Benji and 1981’s Benji at Marineland.

A consummate showman, Davis has continued to perform at area venues, with further releases possible, but his musical journey has long since made him a music legend.

For all these reasons and many more, this year the San Diego Music Awards is proud to honor the accomplishments of Jesse Davis, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Past Lifetime Winners

2021 – Jerry Raney
2020 – Richard Livoni
2019 – Joe Flammini
2018 – The Paladins
2017 – Wayne Riker
2015 – Peter Sprague
2014 – Tomcat Courtney
2013 – Daniel Jackson
2012 – Mike Wofford
2011 – The Penetrators
2010 – Iron Butterfly
2009 – The Zeros
2008 – Mundell Lowe
2007 – Nick Reynolds (of The Kingston Trio)
2006 – Jimmie & Jeannie Cheatham
2005 – Charles McPherson
2004 – Joe Marillo
2003 – Jack Tempchin
2002 – Al Guerra
2001 – Jack Costanzo
2000 – Lou Curtis and Barney Kessel
1999 – Frankie Laine
1998 – Joey Harris and Mike Halloran
1997 – Tim Mays & Harlon Shifmann
1996 – Jim McInnes
1995 – Dave Hodges
1994 – Malcolm Falk

Special Industry Achievement Awards

2021 – Liz Abbott / The Troubadour
2015 – Louie Procaccino
2014 – Candye Kane

2022 SDMA Awards Sponsors

  • San Diego Reader
  • Cutwater Spirits
  • Revolt Wine Co.
  • Fox 5
  • San Diego Union Tribune
  • Taylor Guitars
  • Filippi’s PIzza Grotto