Fever of the Week: Don Covay // Pretty Boy Rock & Roll

Long before he became the R&B/Soul/Funk songwriting powerhouse the world would come to know in the 60’s and 70’s, Don Covay started out singing in his family’s gospel quartet in Washington, DC. Despite being a P.K. (pastor’s kid) in the early 50’s, Don ditched his familial Cherry Keys for a rising secular quartet called the Rainbows. Recruited for his smooth baritone, Don and company would record a few doo wop singles for Pilgrim and Rama Records in 1956 but the group soon splintered due to the public’s lack of interest. As luck would have it, Don’s idol was laying down “Keep a-Knockin” in DC at that time and as any young fan would do, Don hounded his recording sessions day and night. That idol of course was Little Richard and Don quickly charmed his way into becoming Richard’s personal chauffeur, earning himself the nickname “Pretty Boy”. Inspired by his new pet name and his hero’s vocal flair, Don recorded “Bip Bop Bip” with Richard’s backing band and soon enough The Architect of Rock ‘n’ Roll had a hot new opening act. While his early singles would never uppercut the charts like his later songs would, Norton Records compiled this red-blooded 45 to prove that Don “Pretty Boy” Covay had the guts and grit of a prizefighter despite his dreamboat moniker. Better put your gloves up…


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