The career of singer Don Covay spanned virtually the entirety of the R&B spectrum, from the electrifying rock & roll of his earliest records to the gritty, swaggering deep soul of his most enduring efforts -- the scope and diversity of his catalog no doubt contributed to his failure to enjoy consistent commercial success, however, and the general public is probably better acquainted with his songs than with his own renditions of them. Born Donald Randolph in Orangeburg, South Carolina on March 24, 1938, Covay was the son of a Baptist preacher who died when his son was eight. The family soon after relocated to Washington, D.C., where he and his siblings formed a gospel group dubbed the Cherry Keys; while in middle school, however, some of Covay's classmates convinced him to make the leap to secular music, and in 1953 he joined the Rainbows, a local doo wop group that previously enjoyed a national smash with "Mary Lee." By the time Covay joined the Rainbows the original lineup had long since splintered, and his recorded debut with the group, 1956's "Shirley," was not a hit. He stuck around for one more single, "Minnie," before exiting; contrary to legend, this iteration of the Rainbows did not include either a young Marvin Gaye or Billy Stewart, although both fledgling singers did occasionally fill in for absent personnel during live performances.