Four high school students at a talent show in Watts in 1949 grouped together and began singing with Bobby Byrd singing lead vocals. Other members came and went, but the group began finding paying engagements and then began recording in 1950.
In 1951 the group changed its name to The Hollywood Four Flames and recorded the single Tabarin . The song was written by Murray Wilson, the father of three of the Beach Boys. He also wrote a second song, I’ll Hide My Tears, that the group released in 1954 as The Jets. The group changed its name frequently and recorded for as many as 19 different record labels over the next 16 years.
The group also changed members frequently. Two of the new members, Gaynel Hodge and Curtis Williams, co-wrote Earth Angel with Jesse Belvin and it became a huge hit for the Penguins in 1954.
Bobby began using the name Bobby Day in 1957. He wrote the song Little Bitty Pretty One, and the group released it as a single using the name Bobby Day and the Satellites. Their single only reached #57 on the Hot 100, partly because Thurston Harris covered the song and his version peaked at #6.
Later that year the group recorded another song Bobby co-wrote, Buzz-Buzz-Buzz. Earl Nelson sang lead on the song. The group was credited on the recording as it as the Hollywood Flames. The single peaked at #11 in January 1958.
Bobby left the group after that success to pursue a solo career and had a number two record with his recording of Rockin’ Robin in 1958 (which Michael Jackson also took to #2 in 1972). He also wrote the song on the B-side of the single, Over And Over, which reached #41. A remake of Over And Over was a chart-topping single for The Dave Clark Five in 1965.
The only other time the Hollywood Flames reached the charts came in 1961. The group covered the Crow’s 1952 hit, Gee. Their new version failed to reach the Hot 100 but peaked at #26 on the R&B chart.
The group finally disbanded in 1967.