Byrne began his career when he was hired by the Dorsey Brothers in 1934 at only 16 years of age.
He had his own orchestra from 1939 to 1942.
After 1945 he began freelancing in New York. He founded a new orchestra in 1946. He worked often on television, leading a dixieland combo on Steve Allen's program from 1952 to 1954, and performing on the shows of Milton Berle, Perry Como, and Patti Page.
He also served as A&R director for Command Records and often performed as a studio musician for that label.
In the early 1970s Byrne completely left the music industry for the business world, though he occasionally continued to perform.