Louis F. "Chip" Davis, Jr. (born September 5, 1947 in Hamler, Ohio) is the founder and leader of the music group Mannheim Steamroller. His family then moved to Portland, Ohio, and, when Davis was 11, to Sylvania, Ohio. He began piano lessons at age 4 and had composed his first piece of music at age 6. He graduated from Sylvania High School and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan music school, specializing in bassoon and percussion.
After touring with the Norman Luboff Choir, he took a job with an Omaha, Nebraska, advertising agency writing jingles. These included spots for a local bakery featuring the fictional trucker C. W. McCall. The spots were co-written with advertising writer William Fries, who became the voice of McCall. The spots were so popular, they were persuaded to begin writing non-advertising songs featuring McCall. The most famous of these is the 1975 Convoy. The duo released a total of five albums between 1974 and 1979. Davis was named SESAC Country Music Writer of the Year in 1976.
Davis founded Mannheim Steamroller in 1974 to showcase his interest in fusing modern popular and classical techniques. The first Fresh Aire album was completed shortly after. It was turned down by major record labels, so Davis founded American Gramaphone to release the album. American Gramaphone has been the label for all subsequent Mannheim Steamroller releases. A total of eight Fresh Aire albums were released, concluding with Fresh Aire 8 in 2000.
Mannheim Steamroller released Mannheim Steamroller Christmas in 1984; it is credited with revolutionizing the "traditional" sounds of Christmas. The group's subsequent Christmas music albums have sold tens of millions of copies and become among the most popular recordings in that genre. His annual Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert tour has continued for over 25 years across the country.
Davis was awarded his 19th Gold Record in 2010. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has also awarded Davis four Multi-Platinum and eight Platinum records.
Works for Winds
- Auld Lang Syne
- Away in a Manger (as arranger with Longfield) (2003)
- Cantique de Noel (as arranger)
- Carol of the Bells (as arranger; adapt. Longfield) (1904 [1914?]/2009)
- Celebration (arr. Longfield)
- Deck the Halls (as arranger with Longfield)
- Faeries (as arranger)
- Fanfare and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (arr. Longfield)
- The First Noel (arr. Longfield)
- Good King Wenceslas (as arranger; adapt. Longfield) (1984/2007)
- Greensleeves (arr. Davis; ed. Longfield) (2011)
- Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing (1988)
- Hallelujah (as arranger)
- The Holly and the Ivy (as arranger) (1988/1995)
- O Little Town of Bethlehem (as arranger; adapt. Longfield)
- Pat-a-Pan (as arranger)
- Stille Nacht (as arranger with Longfield)
- Stille Nacht (as arranger with Vinson) (1818/1985)