Soul And / Or Related Artists

the isley brothers

Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers, at various times, comprised of:

Ronald Isley (b. Ronald Isley, 21st May 1941, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.)

O' Kelly Isley (b. O'Kelly Isley, Jr., 25th December 1937, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 31st March 1986, Alpine, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Rudolph Isley (b. Rudolph Bernard Isley, 1st April 1939, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 11th October 2023, Olympia Fields, Chicago, Ilinois, U.S.A.)

Marvin Isley (b. Ronald Isley, 18th August 1953, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 6th June 2010, Seasons Hospice, Weiss Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)

Ernie Isley (b. Ernest Isley, 7th March 1952, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Chris Jasper (b. Christopher H. Jasper, 30th December 1951, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.)


Vernon Isley (b. Vernon Isley, 1942, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 1955, Ohio, U.S.A.)

The Isley Brothers began singing gospel in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.

During the early 50's, Ronald, O'Kelly and Rudolph Isley were accompanied by their brother Vernon, who died in a bicycling accident during 1955 at the age of 13.

The group relocated to New York the following year and issued a few one-off singles before being signed by the RCA Records production team, Hugo And Luigi.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

shout! - 1959 / twist and shout - 1962 / twisting and shouting - 1963 / this old heart of mine - 1966

One of their compositions 'Shout' built the group a reputation during live performances.

The song sold well in the black market, and has since become an R & B standard and covered by several rock artists including the Beatles and Lulu.

The Isleys switched labels to Wand in 1962, where they enjoyed another sizeable hit with a cover version of the Top Notes' 'Twist And Shout', another song covered by the Beatles.

The following years the group recorded for the labels, Wand and United Artists.

A brief spell with Atlantic Records in 1964 saw the release of , 'Who's That Lady?', that did not do well at the time, but was to see a renaissance a decade later on.

Isley Brothers

The Isleys then formed their own company, T-Neck Records, in 1964, something not encouraged by a mainly white run music business at the time.

The first release on the label, 'Testify', showcased their young lead guitarist, Jimi Hendrix.

That record's experimental sound went largely unnoticed, and the Isleys, T-Neck and Hendrix went their seperate ways.

The Isleys then signed a contract with Motown Records.

At the Motown outset the group were teamed with the songwriting partnership of Holland / Dozier / Holland.

By 1966, the song 'This Old Heart Of Mine' became a huge hit in America and a hit four years later in the U.K.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

soul on the rocks - 1967 / get into something - 1969 / the brothers: isley - 1969 / it's your thing - 1969

'Behind A Painted Smile' and 'I Guess I'll Always Love You' were reissued in the U.K. and became hits in the U.K. towards the end of the 60's.

The Isleys reactivated T-Neck in 1969 and took on a different look to refurbish their image.

The group added two younger brothers:

Ernie Isley


Marvin Isley

an their cousin,

Chris Jasper

In America, 'It's Your Thing' and 'I Turned You On' scored at the end of the Sixties, whilst the U.K. were catching up with several earlier Motown releases.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

behind a painted smile - 1969 / givin' it back - 1971 / brother, brother, brother - 1972 / 3+3 - 1973

These records employed a funkier sound, inspired by the likes of James Brown And The JB's.

Isley Brothers

isleys with jimi hendrix

Between 1969 and 1972 a live double set featured extended versions of their recent hits, and 'In The Beginning', a collection of their 1964 recordings with Jimi Hendrix.

In the early 70's, the Isleys incorporated into their repertoire a variety of rock material by composers such as Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills, Todd Rundgren and Carole King.

By 1973, the album '3 + 3', became the first album issued via a distribution agreement with CBS Records.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

live it up - 1974 / the heat is on - 1975 / harvest for the world - 1976 / go for your guns - 1977

This albm set the course for several excellent outings throughout the Seventies and early Eighties.

Ernie Isley's guitarwork (influenced by Jimi Hendrix) became central in the Isleys' sound, and was featured on the album's lead single, 'That Lady', a more successful version of their underrated 1964 single on Atlantic.

'3 + 3' also contained soft soul interpretations of material by Seals And Croft, James Taylor and the Doobie Brothers.

'Highways Of My Life' demonstrated Ronald's own developing songwriting skills.

'The Heat Is On' in 1975 showcased the two sides of the groups songwriting stylings.

Side one would become the funkier, social commentary side of the groups writings.

Side two would highlight their more romantic leanings, epitomised by the soul standard 'For The Love Of You'.

It was this formula that stayed with the band for the following late Seventies and early Eighties offerings.

'Harvest For The World' (1976) proved to be one of the Isleys' most popular recordings.

The song became a hit, in 1988, within the pop charts for the Christians.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

showdown - 1978 / winner takes all - 1979 / go all the way - 1980 / grand slam - 1981

In the late 70's, the Isley's albums became popular within the Disco genre with Black & White audiences.

'The Pride', 'Take Me ToThe Next Phase', 'I Wanna Be With You' and 'Don't Say Goodnight' all topped the black music charts.

'It's A Disco Night', a U.K. hit in 1980, came from the double album 'Winner Takes All', which also included the excellent 'Let Me In Your Life'.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

inside you - 1981 / the real deal - 1982 / between the sheets - 1983 / masterpiece - 1985

In the mid Eighties, Ernie and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper left the group to form the successful Isley, Jasper, Isley combination.

The rest of the group still recorded under the Isley Brothers banner, however, when O'Kelly Isley died from a heart attack on 31st March 1986, the group rested for a while.

Isley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley BrothersIsley Brothers

smooth sailin' - 1987 / spend the night - 1989 / mission to please - 1996 / baby makin' music - 2006

Ronald and Rudolph dedicated their next release, 'Smooth Sailin', to him.

That album was produced by Angela Winbush with the title track highlighting.

Angela took over the artistic control of the group, and she wrote and produced their 1989 release 'Spend The Night', which was effectively a Ronald Isley solo album.

The Isley Brothers legacy, has influenced several artists during the Nineties onwards, notably R Kelly on his 'For The Love Of You' sounding, 'Your Body's Calling'.

Their 1996 release 'Mission To Please' attempted to move them into the same smooth urban soul territory as Keith Sweat and Babyface.

In 2001, the group returned to recording releasing 'Eternal', which featured vocal and production input from R Kelly, Raphael Saadiq, Avant, Jill Scott and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

An album entitled 'Body Kiss' was released in 2003 for the Dreamworks imprint.

Sadly, Marvin Isley died from diabetes in 2010.

Isley Brothers

Their series of US hits from the 50's to the 90's is one of the major influences on Black American music.

Real Player


as the isley brothers:

Shout (RGA Victor Records 1959)

Twist And Shout (Wand Records 1962)

The Fabulous Isley Brothers -Twisting And Shouting (Wand Records 1964)

Take Some Time Out -The Famous Isley Brothers (United Artists Records 1964)

This Old Heart Of Mine (Tamla Records 1966)

Soul On The Rocks (Tamla Records 1967)

It's Our Thing (T-Neck Records 1969)

Doin' Their Thing (Tamla Records 1969)

The Brothers: Isley (T-Neck Records 1969)

with brooklyn bridge and edwin hawkins:

Live At Yankee Stadium (T-Neck Records 1969)

as the isley brothers:

Get Into Something (T-Neck Records 1970)

Givin' It Back (T-Neck Records 1971)

Brother Brother Brother (T-Neck Records 1972)

The Isleys Live (T-Neck Records 1973)

3 + 3 (T-Neck Records 1973)

Live It Up (T-Neck Records 1974)

The Heat Is On (T-Neck Records 1975)

Harvest For The World (T-Neck Records 1976)

Go For Your Guns (T-Neck Records 1977)

Showdown (T-Neck Records 1978)

Winner Takes All (T-Neck Records 1979)

Go All The Way (T-Neck Records 1980)

Grand Slam (T-Neck Records 1981)

Inside You (T-Neck Records 1981)

The Real Deal (T-Neck Records 1982)

Between The Sheets (T-Neck Records 1983)

Masterpiece (Warners Records 1985)

Smooth Sailin' (Warners Records 1987)

as isley brothers featuring ronald isley:

Spend The Night (Warners Records 1989)

Tracks Of Life (Warners Records 1992)

Live (Elektra Records 1993)

Mission To Please (Island Records 1996)

Eternal (Dreamworks Records 2001)

Body Kiss (Dreamworks Records 2003)

Baby Makin' Music (Def Soul Records 2006)

I'll Be Home for Christmas (Def Soul Classics Records 2007)

top of the page


SoulwalkingStart HereThe ArtistsListen Out ForThe ChartBeen MissedRespectReal AudioOpinionNetworkJazz & FusionLinksMotown