top of page

Sensing the need for a stronger band concept, Byron, Beau and the group began searching for a new name, something that would give them a more universal and cosmic vibe. Beau said Celestial Sun, but band member John Wagner suggested they make it less of a mouthful and just call it Sun. "We thought surely somebody already had that name," Byron chuckles, " but they didn't." Thus. Sun was born. "The Sun is a universally accepted symbol of energy," Byron explains. "And as time went on, we brought people of different cultures into the band to show how international it could be." Sun was interracial with black and white American members, as well as members of Island and European descent. After being signed to Capitol by Larkin Arnold, Sun was faced with an immediate problem: an incomplete band. "I didn't have all my musicians together on the first album," Byron states, "because they didn't believe I was getting a deal with Capitol. A few guys on the back cover of the first album didn't play a note on it!"

The Overnight Low Show Band

John Wagner, Chris Jones, Byron Byrd,Hollis Melson, Clarence Willis, Jimmy Williams

The Overnight Low Show Band


The Overnight Low Show Band


Byron's first bands were Over Night Low and the Ohio Majestics, which gigged around the area and as support for acts like The O'Jays and The Spinners. The horn section even cut a session for James Brown at King Studios for VP Henry Glover. Members of this band included James "Diamond" Williams, Marvin "Merv" Pierce and Clarence "Chet" Willis, all of whom went on to The Ohio Players. It was in 1974 that Over Night Low, while opening for Mandrill at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus caught the attention of record producer Beau Ray Fleming, who'd worked with Mandrill, Jon Lucien and Zulema up to this point. He heard them on stage and came from the dressing room to peep the scorching band - up close. At the after party, Beau was doubly surprised to see them again. Determined to connect he went backstage, met the players and they exchanged numbers. In under a year, he flew back to Dayton from his New York offices with contracts in his briefcase.



HISTORY page 2

bottom of page