R&B singer/songwriter Don Covay has died, aged 76.

The hitmaker, who wrote songs that would be recorded by the likes of the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin, passed away in his sleep on 31 January (15).

Born Donald Randolph in South Carolina, Covay first tasted success with Pony Time, which reached number one in the U.S. as a Chubby Checker track in 1962. He also enjoyed a hit with 1964's Mercy Mercy, which featured Jimi Hendrix on guitar. That track would later be covered by the Stones.

Franklin scored hits with Covay's Chain of Fools and See Saw, while he also penned hits for Solomon Burke, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, Etta James and Otis Redding. His own recordings have been covered by Bobby Womack and the Small Faces, among others.

He was also an early member of 1950s doo-wop group Rainbows, which would later feature Marvin Gaye, the Soul Clan, who performed alongside Solomon Burke, Ben E. King and Joe Tex, and 1960s act the Jefferson Lemon Blues Band, who charted with Black Woman.

He enjoyed a string of solo hits in the early 1970s, including I Was Checkin' Out, She Was Checkin' In, Somebody's Been Enjoying My Home, and It's Better to Have (And Don't Need).

Beloved among his fellow musicians, Covay was the subject of a 1993 tribute album, featuring the likes of Rolling Stones stars Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood, Bobby Womack, Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren.

Despite battling health issues following a stroke, he continued to record and released his last album of new material, Adlib, in 2000. It featured guest spots from Wilson Pickett and Huey Lewis, among others, and cover art by Ronnie Wood.

His final album, a hits compilation titled Super Bad, was released in 2009.