|From the album Travelin' in Heavy Traffic - Philadelphia International Records|
For three full days, rumors of the passing of Don Covay made the rounds on the social networks and soul fan blogs, making notice only in venues like Oregon Music News and the Examiner, without official confirmation from a single major outlet in the states or elsewhere.
The omission was emblematic. Don Covay, who died January 31 in New York at the age of 76 (some cite his age as 78), never became a household name, though he was one of the major -- as in absolutely indispensable and influential -- figures in American music. A Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, singer and eventually A&R man for Mercury Records, Covay wrote a few songs you probably know: "Chain of Fools" (Aretha Franklin), "Mercy, Mercy" (The Rolling Stones), "See Saw" (Aretha again), "Watch Dog" (Etta James), "Pony Time" (Chubby Checker), "I'm Hanging Up My Heart for You" (Solomon Burke), "Letter Full of Tears" (Gladys Knight & the Pips), "I'm Gonna Cry" (Wilson Pickett) and "Sookie Sookie" (Steppenwolf).More »