Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield Biography

Percy Mayfield

By: Perihan El Etreby

Percy Mayfield was an American rhythm and blues singer with a smooth vocal style. He was also a songwriter, known for his hit songs “Please Send Me Someone to Love” and “Hit the Road Jack”. “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” his number one R&B smash single in late 1950, was described by critic Bill Dahl as “a multi-layered universal lament,” and was extensively influential and recorded by many other singers. Following “Lost Love” and “The Big Question,” he had a series of six Top 10 R&B successes, solidifying his standing as a leading blues ballad singer and “a true master at expressing his innermost sentiments, tinged with tenderness and sadness.”

Percy Mayfield was born in 1920 in Louisiana but was raised in Houston, Texas. When Percy moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, he was already prolifically creating and securing recording contracts with small independent labels while also peddling the same tunes to others. Percy Mayfield’s singing style was influenced by Charles Brown, but unlike many West Coast bluesmen, he did not cater to the white market. In a delicate singing tone, he sung blues ballads, primarily tunes he created himself.

Over the next few years, Percy was a consistent seller with his brand of laconic ballads. He sang behind the beat, with deep and contemplative lyrics, frequently dismal, and with a jeweler’s eye for wordplay, yielding seven Top Ten hits in two and a half years, and over 9 Top 40 hits in the US R&B chart.

He was nearly murdered in a car accident on his way home from a concert in 1952, and he was proclaimed dead on the spot. Despite his survival, he was terribly scarred; his face had caved in, and no amount of plastic surgery could totally restore his features. The proud singer bemoaned the loss of his looks and never regained the commercial success he had before, either as a result of his two-year layoff while recovering, his inability to promote the music on the road now that he was no longer touring, or simply because his highly intelligent personal lyrics fell out of favor with the changing market, which was increasingly focused on more flashy displays.

Despite some excellent material cut after his accident, Percy didn’t find much to be happy about professionally until Ray Charles, a longtime admirer of his work, began asking for material, and Percy wrote some of Ray’s biggest early 1960s hits, including “At The Club,” “Hide Nor Hair,” “But On The Other Hand, Baby,” and “Hit The Road, Jack.” Mayfield was then recruited to Charles’ Tangerine label as an artist, and with a re-make of one of his early 1950s sides, Percy was able to return to the charts.

Despite only charting twice more after that, he never went without a recording opportunity, since some of the biggest labels signed him for the prestige of working with someone so well-known. Other major stars such as Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin recorded his songs, and Percy became comfortable enough with his altered appearance to become an engaging live performer once again in small settings.

Percy died of a heart attack one day before his 64th birthday in 1984, only one day before he would have turned 64.

Discography

Nightless LoverSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Three O’Clock in the MorningSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Live in San FranciscoSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Voice Within SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The IncredibleSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Blues and Then SomeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Sings Percy MayfieldSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Weakness Is a Thing Called ManSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Bought Blues SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Walking on a TightropeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
My Jug and I SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Did Percy Mayfield Please Send Someone To Love Releaase?

Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Someone to Love” was released in 1952.

What Year Was Hit The Road Jack By Percy Mayfield?

The song “Hit the Road Jack” was released in 1960 by Percy Mayfield. The song became a hit and was later covered by many other artists.

Who Was Percy Mayfield?

Percy Mayfield was an American R&B singer, songwriter and pianist, best known for his hit single “Hit the Road Jack”. Mayfield’s compositions reflect the influence of gospel music and the blues. He wrote “Please Send Me Someone to Love” and “River’s Invitation”, both of which were later recorded by Ray Charles.

What Year Was Hit The Road Jack By Percy Mayfield Released?

The song “Hit the Road Jack” was released in 1960 by Percy Mayfield. The song became a hit and was later covered by many other artists.

Most Searched For Songs

LouisianaSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Please send me someone to loveSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Hit the road JackSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
My jug and ISpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
HopelessSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Prayin’ for your returnSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Life is suicideSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Lost love (Baby Please)SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
You don’t exist no moreSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Loose lipsSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon