The Isley Brothers
About The Isley Brothers
Few, if any, groups have influenced and adapted to the changes in popular music as long or as fruitfully as The Isley Brothers. The family group formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1954, and by the end of the decade they had relocated to New York and morphed from a doo-wop-inspired outfit to a gospel-fuelled rock ’n’ roll band with the 1959 hit “Shout”, later immortalised in Animal House, and “Twist and Shout” in 1962, famously covered by The Beatles. After cutting a few failed singles with a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar, the group re-emerged on Motown in 1966, deftly transplanting Ronald Isley’s creamy lead vocals to the urbane soul-pop made famous by the label on the classic “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)”. In 1968, the group relaunched their T-Neck label—named after their adopted home base of Teaneck, New Jersey—to co-release future recordings, including the funky 1969 smash “It’s Your Thing”. After producing and releasing the 1969 concert album Live at Yankee Stadium, the group settled on a singular sound, melding slick gospel-driven soul with the psychedelic lead guitar of Ernie Isley on both original material, like the ubiquitous 1973 smash “That Lady”, and inventive hit rock covers of “Summer Breeze” and “Love the One You’re With”. The group solidified their popularity throughout the ’70s, toggling between lean funk and silky balladry that presaged the slow-jam era. As the 1990s began, the group had dropped off the charts despite continuing to make solid recordings, but a late-decade partnership with R. Kelly found the Isleys sharing radio waves with artists one-third their age. More than six and a half decades after they formed, Ronald and Ernie Isley continue to tour, sharing a lifetime of seduction and grace with listeners new and old.