Bobby Byrd (African-American funk/soul/gospel songwriter & producer)
Legal name: Robert Byrd, Robert H. Byrd, Robert Howard Byrd
Bobby Howard Byrd (August 15, 1934 – September 12, 2007), better known as Bobby Byrd, was an American R&B/soul singer, songwriter, bandleader, talent scout, record producer, and musician, who played an integral and important part in the development of soul and funk music in association with James Brown. Byrd began his career in 1952 as member of the gospel group the Gospel Starlighters, who later changed their name to the Avons in 1953 and the Five Royals in 1954, before settling with the name the Flames in 1955 prior to Brown's joining the group; their agent later changed it to The Famous Flames. Byrd was the actual founder of The Flames and is credited with the discovery of James Brown. As one of the longest-serving members of the group, Byrd was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame posthumously in 2012. Byrd was also a 1998 recipient of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award. Byrd helped to inspire the musical aspirations of James Brown, who launched his career with Byrd.