Though maybe mostly known for penning the classic "Hit the Road, Jack", Mayfield himself was a major performer for the Specialty label in the first half of the 50s delivering slow blues ballads with his smoky voice reminiscent of Charles Brown. His biggest hit was the 1950 "Please Send Me Someone to Love", an R&B standard covered by many singers since then.
The good-looking Mayfield was nearly killed in a 1952 car accident that left his face severely scarred and may have had a limiting effect on his career as a performer. In 1961 Ray Charles made his "Hit The Road, Jack" a major hit, and Mayfield was subsequently hired by Charles's Tangerine Records as a songwriter.
After a decade in the background, Mayfield had a comeback and released several albums late 60s to early 70s on Tangerine and RCA. On these albums, Mayfield's smoky baritone voice is often heard accompained by top jazz session-players of the era.