Otherwise known as Kansas Joe, he released songs including "When the Levee Break" and "The Weed Smoker's Dream."
His first hit, "Bumble Bee," became a hit for Columbia Records.
His song "Why Don't You Do Right" became Peggy Lee's first hit and a jazz standard.
He was married to Lizzie Douglas, who helped him write several of his songs.
Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin covered McCoy's song "When the Levee Breaks," with slight lyrical and musical alterations, on the band's 1971 album, Led Zeppelin IV.