Billy Daniels took a song called "That Old Black Magic" and made it his own through a tempestuous singing career.
In the 1930s he toured with the Erskine Hawkins band and sang in New York-area restaurant-clubs, becoming a successful nightclub performer as a single even before Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes and Perry Como.
It was the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer song "That Old Black Magic" that became the Daniels trademark. Although Glenn Miller and many other bands had recorded the number, Daniels' 1948 recording sold 15 million copies.
One of the less-pleasant moments in the singer's life came on Dec. 2, 1950, when he was stabbed in the face and throat by actress-dancer Ronny Quillan at her Hollywood apartment.
Then in February, 1956, he was booked for felonious assault and illegal possession of a gun in the shooting of a 33-year-old prizefight trainer during a dispute in a Harlem after-hours club. The charges were eventually dismissed.
In 1964, he was knifed in the back by a 48-year-old man while on stage singing at the Latin Quarter. The story disappeared from view without any real explanation.