|Origin||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Years active||1973–1981; reformed in 2012|
|Members||Keith Killgo, Joe Hall, Orville Saunders|
|Past members||Allan C. Barnes, Donald Byrd, Joe Hall, Jay Jones, Keith Killgo, Barney Perry, Orville Saunders, Kevin Toney, Wesley Jackson, Perc Jacobs|
The group was inspired by trumpeter Donald Byrd and featured some of his Howard University students: Kevin Toney (keyboards), Keith Killgo (vocals, drums), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Allan C. Barnes (saxophone, clarinet), and Barney Perry (guitar). Orville Saunders (guitar), and Jay Jones (flute, saxophone) joined later. They signed to Fantasy Records in 1973 and are best known for their 1975 hit "Walking in Rhythm", which received a Grammy nomination, sold over one million copies by May 1975, and was awarded a gold disc.
With eight albums released for Fantasy from 1974 to 1980, The Blackbyrds became an inspiration to late 1970s and early 1980s British jazz-funk acts like Light of the World and Hi-Tension.
More recently, they have made a significant impact on the hip-hop generation with Gang Starr, Da Lench Mobb, and Full Force sampling their music. In particular, their 1975 song "Rock Creek Park" from the City Life album has been sampled numerous times by groups such as De La Soul, Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, N.W.A, Massive Attack, Ice Cube, Heavy D, Nas and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Tone Loc and Wiz Khalifa.
- 1974: The Blackbyrds (Fantasy)
- 1974: Flying Start (Fantasy)
- 1975: City Life (Fantasy)
- 1975: Cornbread, Earl and Me (Soundtrack) (Fantasy)
- 1976: Unfinished Business (Fantasy)
- 1977: Action (Fantasy)
- 1980: Better Days (Fantasy)
- 2012: Gotta Fly (K-Wes Indi Records)
- 1978: Night Grooves (Fantasy)
- 1989: Greatest Hits (Fantasy)
- 2007: Happy Music: The Best of The Blackbyrds (Fantasy FCD-30194-2)
- "Do It, Fluid" (1974) - R&B #23, Pop #69
- "Walking in Rhythm" (1975) - R&B #4, Pop #6, Easy Listening #5, UK #23
- "Flyin' High" (1975) - R&B #22, Pop #70, Easy Listening #25
- "Happy Music" (1976) - R&B #3, Pop #19
- "Rock Creek Park" (1976) - R&B #37, Pop #93
- "Time Is Movin'" (1977) - R&B #15, Pop #95
- "Party Land" (1977) - R&B #30
- "Soft And Easy" (1977) - R&B #20
- "Supernatural Feeling" (1978) - R&B #19
- "What We Have Is Right" (1980) - R&B #38
- "Love Don't Strike Twice" (1981) - R&B #52
- "Dancin' Dancin" (1981) - Dance #59
All singles released on the Fantasy label.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 354. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- The Blackbyrds interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' June 2008
- Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Backbeat Books. p. 81. ISBN 0-87930-629-7
- D’Angelo, Enrico (June 2, 2003). "The Blackbyrds". The Harbus. Retrieved on October 27, 2007.