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The Isley Brothers

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music -- over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, where they were encouraged to begin a singing career by their father, himself a professional vocalist, and their mother, a church pianist who provided musical accompaniment at their early performances. Initially a gospel quartet, the group was comprised of Ronald, Rudolph, O'Kelly, and Vernon Isley; after Vernon's 1955 death in a bicycling accident, tenor Ronald was tapped as the remaining trio's lead vocalist. In 1957, the brothers went to New York City to record a string of failed doo wop singles; while performing a spirited reading of the song "Lonely Teardrops" in Washington, D.C., two years later, they interjected the line "You know you make me want to shout," which inspired frenzied audience feedback. An RCA executive in the audience saw the concert, and when he signed the Isleys soon after, he instructed that their first single be constructed around their crowd-pleasing catch phrase; while the call-and-response classic "Shout" failed to reach the pop Top 40 on its initial release, it eventually became a frequently covered classic.

Still, success eluded the Isleys, and only after they left RCA in 1962 did they again have another hit, this time with their seminal cover of the Top Notes' "Twist and Shout." Like so many of the brothers' early R&B records, "Twist and Shout" earned greater commercial success when later rendered by a white group -- in this case, the Beatles; other acts who notched hits by closely following the Isleys' blueprint were the Yardbirds ("Respectable," also covered by the Outsiders), the Human Beinz ("Nobody but Me"), and Lulu ("Shout"). During a 1964 tour, they recruited a young guitarist named Jimmy James to play in their backing band; James -- who later shot to fame under his given name, Jimi Hendrix -- made his first recordings with the Isleys, including the single "Testify," issued on the brothers' own T-Neck label. They signed to the Motown subsidiary Tamla in 1965, where they joined forces with the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team. Their first single, the shimmering "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," was their finest moment yet, and barely missed the pop Top Ten.

"This Old Heart of Mine" was their only hit on Motown, however, and when the song hit number three in Britain in 1967, the Isleys relocated to England in order to sustain their flagging career; after years of writing their own material, they felt straitjacketed by the Motown assembly-line production formula, and by the time they returned stateside in 1969, they had exited Tamla to resuscitate the T-Neck label. Their next release, the muscular and funky "It's Your Thing," hit number two on the U.S. charts in 1969, and became their most successful record. That year, the Isleys also welcomed a number of new members as younger brothers Ernie and Marvin, brother-in-law Chris Jasper, and family friend Everett Collins became the trio's new backing unit. Spearheaded by Ernie's hard-edged guitar leads, the group began incorporating more and more rock material into its repertoire as the 1970s dawned, and scored hits with covers of Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With," Eric Burdon & War's "Spill the Wine," and Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay."

In 1973, the Isleys scored a massive hit with their rock-funk fusion cover of their own earlier single "Who's That Lady," retitled "That Lady, Pt. 1"; the album 3 + 3 also proved highly successful, as did 1975's The Heat Is On, which spawned the smash "Fight the Power, Pt. 1." As the decade wore on, the group again altered its sound to fit into the booming disco market; while their success on pop radio ran dry, they frequently topped the R&B charts with singles like 1977's "The Pride," 1978's "Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 1," 1979's "I Wanna Be With You, Pt. 1," and 1980's "Don't Say Goodnight." While the Isleys' popularity continued into the 1980s, Ernie and Marvin, along with Chris Jasper, defected in 1984 to form their own group, Isley Jasper Isley; a year later, they topped the R&B charts with "Caravan of Love." On March 31, 1986, O'Kelly died of a heart attack; Rudolph soon left to join the ministry, but the group reunited in 1990.

Although the individual members continued with solo work and side projects, and also experienced misfortune along the way, the Isley Brothers forged on in one form or another throughout the '90s and into the 21st century. In 1996, now consisting of Ronald, Marvin, and Ernie, they released the album Mission to Please; however, Marvin developed diabetes and left the band the following year -- the disease later necessitated the amputation of both his legs. Ronald and Ernie hooked up for the release of 2001's Eternal, a brand-new selection of R&B cuts featuring collaborative efforts with Jill Scott, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Raphael Saadiq. On that particular release, Ronald also introduced the alter ego Mr. Biggs. Body Kiss was released in 2003, followed by Baby Makin' Music in 2006, the year after Ronald was convicted of tax evasion charges. Experiencing his own set of serious health issues, Ronald was sentenced to prison and served the latter portion of his sentence at a halfway house in St. Louis, MO before being released in April 2010. On June 6 of that year, Marvin died of complications from diabetes at the age of 56. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: It's Our Thing/Go All The Way

1. I Know Who You Been Socking It To

2. Somebody Been Messin'

3. Save Me

4. I Must Be Losing My Touch

5. Feel Like The World

6. It's Your Thing

7. Give The Women What They Want

8. Love Is What You Make It

9. Don't Give It Away

10. He's Got Your Love

11. Go All The Way, Pts. 1 & 2

12. Say You Will, Pts. 1 & 2

13. Pass It On, Pts. 1 & 2

14. Here We Go Again, Pts. 1 & 2

16. Belly Dancer, Pts. 1 & 2

x

Track List: Baby Makin' Music

1. You're My Star

2. Blast Off

3. Just Came Here To Chill

4. Gotta Be With You

5. Pretty Woman

6. Forever Mackin'

7. Show Me

8. Give It To You

9. Beautiful

10. Heaven Hooked Us Up

11. You Help Me Write This Song

x

Track List: Body Kiss

x

Track List: The Best Of The Motown Years The Millennium Collection

1. This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

2. I Guess I'll Always Love You

3. Take Some Time Out For Love

4. Put Yourself In My Place

5. That's The Way Love Is

6. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

7. Got To Have You Back

8. Just Ain't Enough Love

9. I Hear A Symphony

10. All Because I Love You

11. Behind A Painted Smile

x

Track List: Eternal

1. Move Your Body

2. Contagious

3. Warm Summer Night

4. You Deserve Better

5. Just Like This

6. Secret Lover

7. You're All I Need

8. Settle Down

9. Eternal

10. If You Leave Me Now

11. Said Enough (feat. Jill Scott)

12. You Didn't See Me

13. Ernie's Jam

14. Think

x

Track List: Love Songs

1. Hello It's Me

2. Groove With You

3. For The Love Of You (Part 1 & 2)

4. All In My Lover's Eyes

5. Voyage To Atlantis

7. Footsteps In The Dark

10. Summer Breeze

11. Between The Sheets

12. At Your Best (You Are Love)

x

Track List: The Ultimate Isley Brothers

1. Its Your Thing

2. That Lady

3. Harvest For The World

4. Work To Do

5. Spill The Wine

6. Summer Breeze

7. Caravan Of Love

8. For The Love Of You

9. Groove With You

10. Twist And Shout

12. Fight The Power

13. The Pride

14. Shout (Part 1 & 2)

15. Love The One You're With

16. Between The Sheets

17. Dont Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)

x

Track List: Shake It Up, Baby

1. Shout (Part 1&2)

2. Nobody But Me

3. The Snake

4. Twist And Shout

5. You Better Come Home

6. Twistin' With Linda

7. Right Now

8. Don't You Feel

9. Rubber Leg Twist

10. Time After Time

11. Never Leave Me Baby

12. Respectable

13. I Say Love

15. Hold On Baby

16. I'm Laughing To Keep From Crying

x

Track List: It's Your Thing - The Story Of The Isley Brothers

Disc 1

2. Shout (Part 1 & 2)

4. Twist And Shout

5. Who's That Lady

6. Time After Time

9. This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

10. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

11. It's Your Thing

12. I Turned You On

13. Get Into Something

14. Freedom

15. Keep On Doin'

17. Rockin' McDonald

18. Don't Be Jealous

Disc 2

1. That Lady (Part 1 & 2)

2. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

3. For The Love Of You (Part 1 & 2)

4. Brother, Brother

5. Work To Do

6. Lay Away

7. Cold Bologna

8. Midnight Sky (Part 1 & 2)

9. Hello It's Me

10. Make Me Say It Again Girl (Part 1 & 2)

11. Summer Breeze

12. Live It Up (Part 1 & 2)

13. Fight The Power (Part 1 & 2)

14. Fire And Rain

15. Love The One You're With

Disc 3

2. Harvest For The World

3. Groove With You

4. For The Love Of You

5. Mission To Please You

6. Between The Sheets

7. Caravan Of Love

8. I'm So Proud

10. Voyage To Atlantis

13. At Your Best (You Are Love)

15. Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)

x

Track List: Super Hits

1. It's Your Thing

5. Summer Breeze

6. Who Loves You Better

8. Freedom

9. Caravan Of Love

10. All In My Lover's Eyes

x

Track List: Mission To Please

1. Floatin' On Your Love

2. Whenever You're Ready

3. Let's Lay Together

4. Tears

5. Can I Havre A Kiss (For Old Times Sakes)

6. Mission Top Please You

7. Holding Back The Years

8. Make Your Body Sing

9. Let's Get Intimate

10. Slow Is The Way

x

Track List: Legacy's Rhythm And Soul Series: Beautiful Ballads

1. Brown Eyed Girl

2. Hello It's Me

4. You're The Key To My Heart

6. I Once Had Your Love (And I Can't Let Go)

7. Caravan Of Love

8. All In My Lover's Eyes

9. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

11. Voyage To Atlantis

12. Choosey Lover

13. Lay Lady Lay

x

Track List: Best Of Isley Brothers

x

Track List: Spend The Night

1. Spend The Night

2. You'll Never Walk Alone

3. One Of A Kind

4. Real Woman

5. Come Together

6. If You Ever Need Somebody

7. Baby Come Back Home

8. One Of A Kind (Reprise)

x

Track List: Smooth Sailin'

1. Everything Is Alright

2. Dish It Out

3. It Takes A Good Woman

4. Send A Message

5. Smooth Sailin' Tonight

6. Somebody I Used To Know

7. Come My Way

8. I Wish

x

Track List: Masterpiece

1. May I?

2. My Best Was Good Enough

3. If Leaving Me Is Easy

4. You Never Know When You're Gonna Fall In Love

5. Stay Gold

6. Colder Are My Nights

7. Come To Me

8. Release Your Love

9. The Most Beautiful Girl

x

Track List: Between The Sheets

1. Choosey Lover

2. Touch Me

3. I Need Your Body

4. Between The Sheets

5. Let's Make Love Tonight

6. Ballad For The Fallen Soldier

7. Slow Down Children

8. Way Out Love

9. Gettin' Over

10. Rock You Good

x

Track List: Go For Your Guns

1. The Pride

2. Footsteps In The Dark

5. Voyage To Atlantis

6. Livin' In The Life

7. Go For Your Guns

x

Track List: Harvest For The World

2. Harvest For The World

3. People Of Today

4. Who Loves You Better

5. (At Your Best) You Are Love

6. Let Me Down Easy

7. So You Wanna Stay Down

x

Track List: The Heat Is On

1. Fight The Power

4. For The Love Of You

6. Make Me Say It Again Girl

x

Track List: 3 + 3

1. That Lady

2. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

3. If You Were There

4. You Walk Your Way

5. Listen To The Music

6. What It Comes Down To

7. Sunshine (Go Away Today)

8. Summer Breeze

9. The Highways Of My Life

x

Track List: Brother, Brother, Brother

1. Brother, Brother

2. Put A Little Love In Your Heart

4. Work To Do

5. Pop That Thang

6. Lay Away

7. It's Too Late

8. Love Put Me On The Corner

x

Track List: The Brothers: Isley

1. I Turned You On

2. Vacuum Cleaner

3. I Got To Get Myself Together

4. Was It Good To You?

5. The Blacker The Berrie (Aka Black Berries)

6. My Little Girl

7. Get Down Off Of The Train

8. Holding On

9. Feels Like The World

Comments

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I'll alwayz luv these twoo!!
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I had a baby listening to this lol
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Were are the music at today
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Real ��
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I ALWAY'S WILL JAM THIS..I HOPE DEY PLAY IT AT MY HOME GOING...PLAY A DANG'S....
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Had'nt heard this in years. Almost teared up! Definitely revived memories from storage. It really was a simpler time. For one thing: I understood the words being sung.
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This music takes me to a place comfort!
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First time hearing this one. Wow! The tables are turned.
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i have always loved the Isley Brothers
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I grew in the 70,s I would wait for Spring for their new LPs to jam the rest of the that year on
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I love all my young ppls they know when you listen to music like this and there's plenty more where this kid a music come from loving it at 46 bout to be 47 can't wait
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Real Music
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Smooth
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Lovin the brothers!1
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Would love to get the lyrics for this song.
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The Isey Brothers and me, we go way way back.
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Spend tha nite...I love all the music... #MyNewLife.. Ms.Major


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I grew up listening to my old school jams love them
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This kind of music reminds a brother Just how much love we men's held for womens
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this is the good stuff
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Mercy
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davidjune63
Old School music, less violence .
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what young man who thought he was n love n founded out differently don't identify with this song
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Tears...love this song. The Isley Brothers timeless
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Oh I luv this song very nice
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Im at My Best great jam
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This is where kendrick lamar got his beat for I, I think its that song
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Classic
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Baby makin music back in the day 76 the year bulldogs bridgette sweeney 137@yahoo.co m posted 4_3_16 holla����
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I remember the Isley Bros. from way back when.
Good night , I feel old!
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Floyd allen this is good sounds
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I'm so in love with Sonia Morales that I don't know what to do but the whole orange keep praying to God and she loves me true swimming song does that make me wonder we share a special love in this world God can separate unfaithful
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Legends!
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Biggie smalls best dam group ever so smooth
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Classic love their music...
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Great Music!!
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Best band in the last 50 years, smooth, tight, exclusive music!
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SO RELAXING SMOOTH
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ginalisa700
Love it
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ginalisa700
What year was this
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Some of the best music ever recorded!
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This reminds me of Wedding Crashers lol
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Nothing but ol school music classic
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I love this music
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Love it
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Music you can feel in your soul
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fiajune13
Here with my baby loving it
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You are a bad strong womanyyou go love your music
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Smooth
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davism3003
Yes... Chilling to this after my workout!
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