Bobby Day (Bobby Byrd), singer, songwriter, arranger and keyboard-player: born Toccoa, Georgia 15 August 1934; married Vicki Anderson; died Loganville, Georgia 12 September 2007.
Bobby Byrd (August 15, 1934, Toccoa, Georgia – September 12, 2007, Loganville, Georgia) was an African American funk/soul/R&B/gospel musician and songwriter, best known as James Brown’s longtime sideman and co-vocalist on songs such as Licking Stick – Licking Stick, Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine and Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved. Byrd also recorded many solo funk tracks, most famously I Know You Got Soul (1971), which have been sampled by musicians including Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and A Tribe Called Quest. He was the original leader and founder of The Famous Flames, the vocal group with which James Brown first became famous. Byrd is actually the man who discovered James Brown.
Bobby Byrd and James Brown met in a Georgia youth detention facility. Brown was an inmate, Byrd was not. Byrd’s local baseball team played the prison team of which Brown was a member. It was Bobby Byrd’s family that sponsored his release and took him in afterwards.
Byrd was leader of a vocal group called The Avons when Brown joined in the mid-1950s. The Avons later became The Flames, then The Famous Flames, before they were repackaged with Brown as the frontman. James Brown and the Famous Flames, with Byrd as a member, recorded many hit songs, including Please, Please, Please, Think, Bewildered, Oh Baby, Don’t You Weep, I’ll Go Crazy, and many more. Brown and The Flames were also known for their powerful on stage performances across the United States in venues such as the Apollo Theatre in New York, the Regal in Chicago,and The Royal Theatre in Baltimore (where they recorded the 1964 Top 10 Pop live album “Pure Dynamite: Live at the Royal}, among numerous other concert venues, and on film in the 1964 concert film the T.A.M.I. Show, where Brown, Byrd, and the other Famous Flames (Bobby Bennett and “Baby Lloyd” Stallworth) upstaged The Rolling Stones. Byrd also appeared with Brown and the group in the 1965 Frankie Avalon motion picture Ski Party, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and twice on The Ed Sullivan Show. Byrd was the only member of The Flames to remain with Brown when the group disbanded in 1968.
He was married to soul singer Vicki Anderson, another James Brown collaborator. His step-daughter is Carleen Anderson.
In October 2004 Bobby Byrd’s songs I Know You Got Soul and Hot Pants were featured on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack, playing on fictional radio station Master Sounds 98.3. Also, in September 2005 his song Try It Again appeared on the soundtrack of Indigo Prophecy.
On September 12th 2007, comforted by wife Vicki Anderson and a large, close family, Byrd died of cancer, he was 73.
Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul (long version) .mp3 Charted Billboard R&B #30 – Original issue on King
Bobby Byrd – Hot Pants…I’m Coming, I’m Coming, I’m Coming.mp3 – Charted Billboard R&B #34 – Original Issue Brownstone
Myra Barnes (Vicki Anderson) – Super Good (Parts 1 & 2).mp3 – Original Issue King
An obituary published 14 September 2007 may be found here and an additional tribute to Mr. Byrd and other great music artists can be found at the Soulwalking “Respect” Pages.