Rock and Roll Pioneer Bobby Day


Bobby Day, born Robert James Byrd, left his birthplace in Fort Worth, Texas to pursue a music career. We would start his career in 1953 or 1954 as a teenager in Los Angeles. Through many decades in the music industry, he would be involved in several acts. It would be two hits that made him a part of rock history.


Early Career in R&B

His early career saw him as the lead singer of the R&B/doo-wop group the Hollywood Flames under the name Bobby Byrd. He would later take the name Bobby Day. Throughout the 1950s he performed in several acts such as the Satellites and Bob & Earl. He recorded several songs that didn’t get major airplay at the time but would become bigger hits either in that decade with other artists—such as “Little Bitty Pretty One” with Thurston Harris and the Jackson Five—or in the following decades as was the case with “Over and Over.”


Rockin’ Robin

In the late-1950s rock and roll had been around roughly a decade. Several bands were experimenting with the sound—including contemporaries such as Rosetta Tharpe, Chuck Berry, and Jay Hawkins. Bobby Day joined their company with the song “Rockin’ Robin” in 1957. The song was written by Leon Rene and performed by Day who handled most of the instrumentals on the song besides drums and the piccolo.

“Rockin’ Robin” would be Day’s biggest hit reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the R&B Charts. It would go gold with over a million copies. In the decades that followed, it was covered by artists such as a teenage Michael Jackson in 1972.

Bobby Day continued to perform for the following decades while playing his signature songs “Rockin’ Robin” and “Over and Over.” He passed July 27, 1990, of prostate cancer and is buried in Culver City, California.


-Rockin’ Robin:

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