Alias: The Gary Byrd Experience, G.B. Experience
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.
Format: 12″ Promo only
Notes: The promo release was issued in a Motown company sleeve. Of the two variations pictured, one has the artist name printed above the spindle hole and the other has it printed below.