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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

jrsjrsjrs57
What do u know it really does want to make me shout and dance my a** off.
catinhat.cd
GBABY getting hangout with you is fun you. Just working. Stop picking with you while you work.
catinhat.cd
Say it again GBABY again, again
catinhat.cd
It cold outside i think stay here between you,and sheet give sweet love baby ,G BABY. Put it on me.
nuradeen4712 4 5
Real smooth vocals with that country twang they music makes you feel good
Do anybody remeber Lay Lady Lay
GIRL U ALL I NEED!!!!!!!!
Been love'n the Brothers music since the early 70's, absolutely !!!!
Who's that lady ,good old loving making music ,making something ladytrucks42 I like your commente
Yea
shippy29
THROW THE MISTLETOE A GAME I MADE UP SHOULD BE FUN SHE LIVE IN NVILLE BE THERE OR BE WELLU KNOW
shippy29
CANT WAIT FOR XMAS PART FRIDAY NITE AY MOMS HOUSE
shippy29
IM READY NUFF SAID
catinhat.cd
Gbaby do all i can for you.
catinhat.cd
G.BABY can't leave you behind
catinhat.cd
G. H. Lay back going massage your legs and feet after hard day at work.
shippy29
wanted him for breakfast lol
shippy29
gonna finish up xmas shopping today i hope
shippy29
merry christmas e one PEACE
shippy29
dedicated to you michael
Dedicated to my wife
catinhat.cd
I know that where you want me all day,and that nice too be there with you
dwight8313
Lovely time ago
catinhat.cd
Choosy you
Classic soul....take s me to good places even while im all alone...
That's a ( Bad) Song go Pandora!!!
blueyedmom00 7
Great song...great memories!!!
my fave son gof all time so many memories love the isleys
catinhat.cd
Baby the heart knows what it want it not anyone else.
I love the Isley .
Hello odell"pop" killebrew from 305 this song reminds me of you
catinhat.cd
Hahaha guess we have time for that ...so laying around all miss touching your ebony body,kissing beautiful soft lips,i slip miss out being with you and ,you off TODAY......W O W , errands could've waited damn.....SOR R Y . ...missing out baby remind me.
catinhat.cd
Wednesday morning first person i wake to you love you
'Between The Sheets'... Hold Me Tight' ... 'You Taste So Sweet' ... 'Ooo, Baby' ... 'Between The Sheets' ... xo
Sing it Isley brothers
Smooth Salin' Tonight....c l a s s i c Isley Brothers.
sliptera_666
I'm 30 years young, and I can say that this song is one of my favorites in my life. Long live soul, and death metal, and the beatles!
rip lil bro love u
catinhat.cd
Beautiful songs hope see
Now see this Song can never get old or grow old for me to stop hearing Go Pandora Go Love The Isley Brothers and Thank You for all of you're music that I remember back in the 60's when I was a Child
Ice cube craig merry christmas day day lol brother :( keefy baby daddy:( rip
BEST SONGS
I choose you love
Excellent Excellent music... Good old loving making music
Isley brother thank for all the songs yall have put out over the years
Love it
catinhat.cd
Always time for love,see what like in bed i brag never disappointed because i love,love and pleasing with pleasure. .
Love this group
I saw AL Green on Letterman last night. He's still got it.
Isleys have been the cornerstone of R/B since there exception in to the main stream of music,and they have been the best every since,and is still going strong. I love the Isley's Brothers.
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