He began his music career by working in radio while a student at Texas A&M in the 1960s. He then became a regional promotion representative for Capitol Records in Houston.
Byrd initially made his mark in Nashville in the promotion department of CBS Records in 1970-76. At the time the company’s Columbia and Epic labels included such stars as George Jones, Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson, Joe Stampley, Charlie Rich, Tanya Tucker, Larry Gatlin and David Allan Coe.
Byrd was named national director of country promotion at Warner Bros. Records, where he worked in 1976-83. The Warner roster then included Emmylou Harris, Margo Smith, John Anderson, T.G. Sheppard, David Frizzell & Shelly West, Hank Williams Jr., Gail Davies and The Bellamy Brothers, among others.
In 1984, he became the president of his own firm, Chart Attack, working as an independent promoter for such artists as B.J. Thomas, Ricky Van Shelton, Joe Diffie and Earl Thomas Conley. During this same period, he founded BDM Management and signed Mark Chesnutt as his first client.
Byrd also became a real-estate entrepreneur. He owned a number of houses on Music Row that he converted into business buildings for publishing companies, management firms, publicists and booking agents.
In 1997-2001, he was vice president of promotion at Asylum Records. That label’s roster included Bryan White, Kevin Sharp, George Jones, Lila McCann, Mark Nesler and Monte Warden.
He resumed work as an independent promotion consultant in the new millennium. Among his clients were Brent Maher’s Morraine Music companies in Berry Hill. Byrd also continued to work as a real-estate investor.
Byrd reportedly had been suffering from the after effects of a stroke. He is survived by his wife Valerie, daughter Caitlin Foote, stepchildren Will and Claire Wilson, three grandchildren and sisters Peggy and Christa.
Arrangements are being handled by Sellars Funeral Home, 2229 Mt. Juliet Rd., Mt. Juliet, TN 37122. According to Sellars, the family will schedule a service at a later date.
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