Robert James Byrd (July 1, 1930 – July 27, 1990), known by the stage name
, was an American rock and roll and R&B musician.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Day moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of 15. As a member of the R&B group, The Hollywood Flames, he used the stage name Bobby Day to perform and record. He went several years with minor musical success limited to the West Coast, including being the original “Bob” in the duo Bob & Earl. In 1957, Day formed his own band called the “Satellites” following which he recorded three songs that are seen today as rock and roll classics. Despite the similarity in personal and group names,this is not the Bobby Byrd that sang with, and was the founder of The Famous Flames, the vocal group whom with James Brown first began his career.
Day’s best known songwriting efforts were “Over and Over” made popular by the Dave Clark Five in 1965, and “
Little Bitty Pretty One
” popularized by Thurston Harris in 1957, Clyde McPhatter in 1962 and the Jackson Five in 1972. However, Day is most remembered for his 1958 solo recording of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 hit, “Rockin’ Robin”, written by Leon Rene under the pseudonym Jimmie Thomas. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record. “Rockin’ Robin” was a song covered by Bob Luman at Town Hall Party on October 28, 1958, The Hollies in 1964, Gene Vincent in 1969, Michael Jackson in 1972, and by McFly in 2006.
In 2012-2013, his uncharted recording, “Beep-Beep-Beep”, was the musical soundtrack for a US-nationwide Kia Sorento television commercial.
Day died of cancer in 1990, and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.