Gary Byrd and the GB Experience
|Gary Byrd and the GB Experience|
|Associated acts||Stevie Wonder|
Gary Byrd and the GB Experience was an American male/female vocal/instrumental group, who had a single titled "The Crown", in the UK Singles Chart. It was released on the Motown label, entered the chart on 23 July 1983 at number 21, and rose to a high of number 6; it remained in the chart for 9 weeks. It had previously been released in the US on Stevie Wonder's short-lived Wondirection label, but did not receive proper promotion, so only reaching the Billboard R&B chart, placing at #69.
"The Crown", 12" version ran for 10 minutes 35 seconds, making it one of the longest tracks ever to chart in the UK. It was written by Gary Byrd and Stevie Wonder, and presented a wide-ranging historical narrative of human progress (beginning with the ancient Egyptians and continuing to the present day) with an emphasis on African heritage. It featured spoken/rapped verses by Byrd (an American DJ, who also did a stint on BBC Radio), with one verse sung by Wonder and Crystal Blake. Byrd described the song at the time thus: "The idea is not that black, white or anyone is better, but that we all have our place. We've all made contributions - and mistakes too. Wearing the crown is reaching the top of your potential. You could be a writer or you could be a mechanic, but you can still wear the crown."
Prior to this, Gary Byrd released the single "Every Brother Ain't A Brother", the album The Gary Byrd Experience and the single "Soul Travelin' (Inside the G.B.E.)" on RCA, whose intro was sampled by Soul to Soul on the song "Jazzie's Groove". He also collaborated with Wonder on the songs "Black Man", "Village Ghetto Land", "Dark and Lovely" and "Misrepresented People."