Mercy, Mercy

Album: Mercy! (1964)
Charted: 35

Songfacts®:

  • In this pleading soul song, Don Covay is playing all his cards to keep his girl from leaving, telling her he'll work two jobs and bring her the money if she'll stay. He also tells her that if she leaves, he's going to drown himself in the nearest river.
  • As a singer, "Mercy, Mercy" is Don Covay's best-known song, but he's better known for his songs that were recorded by others, notably Aretha Franklin on "Chain Of Fools." Other Covey compositions include "Tonight's The Night" by Solomon Burke and "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker. He passed away on January 31, 2015 at 78.
  • It's likely that Jimi Hendrix, who was doing session work at the time, played guitar on this track. Covay bounced around to a few different labels; "Mercy, Mercy" he recorded on Rosemart, and there are no accurate records from the session. Steve Cropper, who crossed paths with Hendrix at Stax records, recalls Hendrix showing him how he played the song.

    Note that Jimi Hendrix mentioned his own name on his 1967 song "Fire" ("move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over"). Covay sings his own name on this one: "She said 'Don, your baby's gonna leave you.'"
  • The Rolling Stones covered "Mercy Mercy" on their 1965 album Out Of Our Heads. Big fans of American soul, they also recorded Sam Cooke's "Good Times" and Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike" on that album.
  • Phoebe Snow switched the gender and added a "mercy" when she covered this song in 1981 as "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." Her version went to #52 in the US.

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