Personalities | The Isley Brothers | Sixties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1957–present)

This long-careered family group originally comprised brothers O’Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald who travelled from 1950s gospel to 1980s disco with frequent and influential success. Their early R&B hits ‘Shout’ (1957) and ‘Twist And Shout’ (1962) became standards, while their 1964 backing band included the young Jimi Hendrix. They scored only one US success on signing with Motown, 1966’s ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’, and spent much of the decade in Britain (where the song eventually made No. 3 in 1968).

In the 1970s, they merged rock and soul with the hits ‘That Lady’, ‘Summer Breeze’ and the uplifting ‘Harvest For The World’ (UK No. 10), adding brothers Ernie (guitar) and Marvin (bass) and cousin Chris Jasper (keyboards), but fragmented in the 1980s (O’Kelly died in 1986). Recordings continued, however, and respect from the new generation of R&B artists including R. Kelly revived their fortunes in the 1990s. Ronald Isley served three years from 2006 for tax evasion.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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