David was the biological son of Julie Olson and David Martin, but was raised by Scott Banning. David had little love for his mother Julie, and as soon as he could he left Salem. In 1975 David returned to collect his inheritance from Addie so he could afford to marry his girlfriend Brooke Hamilton.
When David began to re-forge a relationship with his mother Julie, Brooke became jealous. Brooke began to spread lies and told David that his mother had been unfaithful and slept with Doug and became pregnant with Doug's child. David did not want to believe her, but after seeing Doug and Julie together he assumed it was true. David felt a renewed hatred for his mother, and after a huge fight he took Doug's car and drove it off a bridge. When his body was not found David was pronounced dead.
David eventually stumbled out of the river and was taken in by the Grant family, where he met and fell in love with Valerie Grant. After Valerie's father learned David's true identity and informed Julie her son was alive, David returned to Salem. Upon returning he learned Brooke was pregnant with his child. David proposed to Brooke, but she refused knowing he loved Valerie Grant. That Christmas David brought Valerie to Salem to meet his friends and family.
In 1976 David and Valerie became engaged, but David began to have doubts about being committed to one woman, and had a one-night stand with Trish Clayton.
In 1977 Valerie and David broke off their engagement, and David began to see Trish Clayton. Later that year the two were married, and in September Trish gave birth to Scotty Banning.
In 1978 Trish took Scotty Banning and left David. David hired a private investigator and eventually found Scotty living with Jeri Clayton in L.A., Trish was off doing a movie. David took Scotty and returned to Salem.
In 1978 Stephanie Woodruff began dating David, but when his wife Trish returned from the East coast the two reconciled and moved back in together.
In 1980 David came to work at Anderson Manufacturing, but was also employed by Alex Marshall to spy on Kellam Chandler, whose was attempting a take over. When Mary Anderson learned about this she had David fired and told him to leave town. David had crossed many people's paths, and thought it best he split, so he left Trish, took Scotty, and left Salem.
In 1981 after Trish had stolen Scotty from David, David returned to Salem. Once he returned he began to work for Dr. Stuart Whyland. Soon after David found Alex Marshall in his office, he had been shot and David had picked up the murder weapon. David was charged with Alex's shooting, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. However, on the way to prison the truck carrying him and others crashed and David managed to escape and hid in a basement of a radio station building. Renee soon found him and he helped keep him hidden.
While returning from a visit with Trish and Scotty David was shot. He made his way to the Twilight bar and met up with Nick Corelli. Nick removed he bullet and got Valerie Grant to care for David's wound. He demanded Julie pay him a large sum of dollars for David's safe return. When Nick ordered Valerie to pick up the money she refused and knocked Nick out. She picked up the money from Julie and gave it to David so he could escape from Salem.
David grew tired of running, and turned himself in, but by that time Alex had cleared David of shooting him.
However later when Renee was attacked by the strangler David was accused of attacking her and being the strangler, but when Renee awoke from her come she cleared David.
In 1982 David began dating Kayla Brady, but turned her away when Renee showed an interest in him. In November of 1982 David and Renee were married.
In 1983 Renee became pregnant with David's child, but miscarried it after falling from a horse.
In his will Stefano said in order to earn their inheritance Tony and Renee had to live under the same roof for one year, and Renee had to stay married to David Banning. Also, the will stated the first couple to have a child would receive an extra five million dollars. Renee and David reluctantly moved into the DiMera mansion with Tony and Anna.
In 1983 David eventually divorced Renee after she had tried to kill Anna DiMera. When Renee was discovered murdered, David was the first suspect. Once he was cleared of the crime, he left Salem.