His passing has been confirmed by his son and ex-wife
The LA-born musician released five albums during his career, kicking off with ‘What It Is’ in 1972. His final solo album, ‘Funtaztik’, came out in 1981, and he then enjoyed a career as a session musician, playing and co-producing records by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Roy Ayers.
Birdsong’s solo music gained renewed prominence in his later years after a number of his tracks were used as samples. The most notable instance of this was Daft Punk’s use of the 1979 Birdsong track ‘Cola Bottle Baby’, which was heavily sampled for the French duo’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’. You can hear the two tracks below.
Kanye West also sampled ‘Cola Bottle Baby’ for his song ‘Stronger’, which itself borrowed heavily from Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’.
Birdsong’s ‘Rapper Dapper Snapper’, meanwhile, was sampled by both De La Soul and Gang Starr for ‘Me Myself and I’ and ‘Skills’ respectively. A Tribe Called Quest also sampled Birdsong’s work for Roy Ayers on their songs ‘Description of a Fool’ and ‘Bonita Applebum’.