Rock and Roll
Bobby Day, which is the professional name of Robert James Byrd, was a very influential part of the music business during this doo wop era — and a big part of 1950s music and 1960s music. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Day was an R&B, soul singer, songwriter, record producer, and musician. He was a member of the group The Hollywood Flames as well as the original Bob in the duo Bob & Earl. Day founded the group The Famous Flames, of which James Brown was the lead singer — and Day is credited with his discovery. Day also wrote songs for many artists, including Thurston Harris, Clyde McPhatter, and the Jackson Five.
In 1958, Day and Leon René (credited as Jimmie Thomas) collaborated on “Rockin’ Robin.” Day liked the song so much he decided to try his hand as a recording artist and make his own record. The famous piccolo part was played by Plas Johnson, who later played the saxophone solo on “The Pink Panther Theme.” Although Bobby Day wrote many more hits (e.g., “Itty Bitty Pretty One” and “Over and Over”), this was his only hit record as a singer. “Rockin’ Robin” went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been covered by many popular artists, including Chuck Berry, Michael Jackson, Gene Vincent, The Hollies, Cliff Richard, The Spinners, and, of course, The Muppets.
“Over and Over” was the B-Side to “Rockin’ Robin” and also charted well.