Best known for penning the songs Hit the Road Jack and Please Send Me Someone to Love. He had a smooth vocal style.
He began his career as a singer in Texas and signed to the Swing Time and Specialty Records labels.
His singing career was significantly hampered after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident in 1952.
He was married to three different women, the last of whom was named Tina Mayfield.
He was signed by Ray Charles to the singer's Tangerine Records label, primarily as a songwriter.