The Isley Brothers

Originally formed in Lincoln Heights, Ohio by brothers O'Kelly, Rudolph, Vernon, and Ronald Isley in 1954, the group performed gospel music until Vernon’s death in 1955. The remaining Isley Brothers formulated their close harmony style in the early days of rock and roll with influential hit singles like “Shout” (1959) and “Twist and Shout” 1962. Their line-up would change over the years as they’d incorporate several other family members and friends into the fold. They finally achieved massive commercial success in 1966 with the Motown single “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You).” Expanding their line-up (which once included Jimi Hendrix as backing guitarist) and refining their funky style, The Isley Brothers had a major international hit with “That Lady” in 1973 - notable for Ernie Isley's compelling guitar solo - and a number 1 album in 1975 with The Heat Is On, which featured the hit singles “Fight the Power” and “For the Love of You.” The hits continued - including “Harvest for the World” (1976) and “Between the Sheets” (1983) - but in 1984, Ernie and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper split to form Isley-Jasper-Isley and released the classic 1985 hit “Caravan of Love.” Founding member O’Kelly Isley died of a heart attack on March 31, 1986. The Isleys reunited in 1992 to record the Tracks of Life album and returned to the album charts with the 1996 album Mission to Please. By the 2000s, only two Isleys - Ronald and Ernie - remained and they went on to have major hits in 2001 with a cover of R Kelly's “Contagious” and the albums Body Kiss in 2003, Baby Makin' Music in 2005 and the festive I'll Be Home for Christmas in 2007. Later that year, Ronald was arrested and imprisoned for tax evasion, with a three-year sentence given for his crimes. Shortly after his release, the youngest brother Marvin passed away on June 6, 2010, after a long battle with diabetes. Ronald released his debut solo album, Mr. I, in 2010 and he reunited with Ernie the following year and began to tour once more as The Isley Brothers. They returned to the charts with the albums Power of Peace with Santana (2017) and Make Me Say It Again, Girl (2022). Founding member Rudolph Isley died on October 11, 2023, at the age of 84. His death leaves Ronald Isley as the only surviving member of the original founding lineup.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring The Isley Brothers

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