Hip Hop Be Bop

Gary Byrd & The G.B. Experience

Members:

Gary Byrd, Stevie Wonder, Syreeta, Teena Marie

Gary Byrd was born in 1954 in Buffalo NY and began his DJ career there at the age of 15 at WUFO. From there he was hired on soul station WWRL-AM and launched his show, The GBE: The Gary Byrd Experience, which went on to become the longest running black radio show in NYC. In the early 1980’s Gary Byrd began a gospel radio show in the UK on BBC radio 1 called ‘Sweet Inspirations’ followed by a show on WLIB in NY.

He released his debut single in 1970 entitled ‘Every Brother Ain’t A Brother’ on Real Thing Records following demand from his listeners after he performed the poem on his show. This was followed in 1972 by his debut spoken word, funk, soul album simply titled ‘Presenting The Gary Byrd Experience’. The following year he released his second single, ‘Soul Travelin’, with backing band, The Jimmy Castor Bunch. Unbeknown to him, the track would go on to be sample fodder for hip hop artists such as Nas, Big L, Poor Righteous Teachers, etc.

In 1983 he released ‘The Crown’ with The GB Experience which became a huge commercial hit across the world. It was a spoken word/rap track celebrating African history and culture and was produced by Byrd and legendary soul artist Stevie Wonder. It was the only ever release on Stevie’s WonDirection Records. Stevie played drums, piano, synthesizer and tambourine plus provided vocals. Other artists on the track included Stevie’s ex-wife Syreeta and Teena Marie (RIP).

Following this release Gary was recruited to bring his unique style as a narrator for the BBC documetary ‘Beat This: A Hip Hop History’ which was also available on video tape.

The Crown [1983]

Label: Motown Records
Catalogue #: PR 128
Year: 1983
Format: 12″ Promo
Country of Origin: US

Side A
The Crown (Long Version) [8:43]
The Crown (Edited Version) [6:49]

Side B
The Crown (Instrumental) [10:49]

Notes: The promo was issued in a Motown promo company sleeve. This variant has the artist name above the spindle hole.

Label: Motown Records
Catalogue #: PR-128
Year: 1983
Format: 12″ Promo
Country of Origin: US

Side A
The Crown (Long Version) [8:43]
The Crown (Edited Version) [6:49]

Side B
The Crown (Instrumental) [10:49]

Notes: This variant has the artist name printed below the spindle hole.

Label: Wondirection Records
Catalogue #: 4507WG
Year: 1983
Format: 12″
Country of Origin: US

Side A
The Crown (Vocal) [10:35]

Side B
The Crown (Instrumental) [10:40]

Notes: Note the different track length for the vocal version compared to the other standard release.

Label: Wondirection Records
Catalogue #: 4507WG
Year: 1983
Format: 12″
Country of Origin: US

Side A
The Crown (Vocal) [10:56]

Side B
The Crown (Instrumental) [10:40]

Notes: This was issued in exactly the same picture sleeve but note the different track length for the vocal version compared to the other standard release.