Throwback: Bobby Byrd-I Know You Got Soul

Bobby Byrd’s legacy in soul music is tied to his pivotal work with James Brown. Byrd and Brown’s personal and professional relationship began the ’50s’ when Byrd’s family helped Brown’s parole from prison by offering him residence. Brown joined Byrd’s gospel group the Flames which eventually became The Famous Flames. Together Brown and Byrd conquered the ’60s’ with the invention of soul music that went mainstream. Byrd wrote many songs with Brown and did not receive credit but he is most remembered for his speaking part on “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine.”  In 1971, they formed People Records and they released music from other artists as well as Byrd’s single “I You Got Soul.” Byrd had experienced some solo success in the ’60s’ with “Baby Baby Baby” and “We Are In Love” but “I Know You Got Soul” would have the pulse to carry his name to future generations. Eric B. & Rakim’s remake of “I Know You Got Soul” on their Paid In Full album is the most popular reference to Byrd’s song and solo voice. Byrd’s soul and funk endeavors with Brown ceased in the ’70s’ but he would occasionally do shows with him and contributed to Brown’s last recording The Next Step. His recorded the solo album On The Move in ’93 and retired from music a few years later. He performed at Brown’s 2006 funeral and passed months later from cancer in 2007. Byrd was portrayed by the late actor Nelsan Ellis in the film Get On Up.

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