Thursday, 18 October 2007 15:34 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


Bobby Byrd, the James Brown sidekick and collaborator whose gruff voice counterpointed the Godfather's vocals with the chant 'Get On Up' on the funk classic 'Get Up (I Feel Like Being) A Sex Machine,' died from lung cancer on September 12th aged 73. Georgia-born Byrd met James Brown in the early 1950s when his devout Baptist family was instrumental in helping Brown negotiate an early release from a juvenile correction facility. Brown joined Byrd's devotional harmony group, The Gospel Starlighters, which eventually metamorphosed into The Famous Flames and signed to King Records in 1956. By that time, Brown's showmanship had earned him separate billing. The Brown-fronted group struck chart gold the same year with the Top 10 R&B smash, 'Please, Please, Please.' In the '60s and '70s, Byrd was credited as co-writer on several of Brown's big hits, including 'Licking Stick,' 'Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing,' and 'Get Up (I Feel Like Being) A Sex Machine.' Byrd also recorded a clutch of collectable singles under James Brown's production stewardship, among them 1971's 'I Know You Got Soul' famously sampled by '80s hip-hop act, Eric B & Rakim. Byrd is survived by his second wife, singer Vicki Anderson - a former James Brown protégé - and several children, including UK-based soul chanteuse, Carleen Anderson.



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