The Isley Brothers
Sun. June 18, 2017 : 7:00
Hear the soulful legends that started it all! A not to be missed night of classic soul and R&B from the Grammy and American Music Award winning Isley Brothers featuring their hit songs Shout!, That Lady, Twist and Shout, It's Your Thing, Fight the Power, I Wanna Be with you and more.
The Isley Brothers began singing together as youngsters in 1950. Ronald, Rudolph, Kelly (originally O'Kelly) and Vernon started out as a gospel group, performing in churches and other venues throughout their hometown of Cincinnati. But in 1955, Vernon Isley was killed in a bicycle accident. The traumatized siblings would not reform the ensemble until 1956, the year they moved to New York. Still, Ronald Isley says they did not consider themselves a professional unit until 1959, when the trio logged their first hit, "Shout." Ernie Isley joined the family business in 1969, which opened the door to his now famous bass work on "It's Your Thing."
The Isley Brother later expanded to include Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper; the title of their 3+3 album was a reference to original members Rudolph, Ronald and Kelly teaming with the new guard of Ernie, Marvin and Jasper. The 3+3 roster persisted until 1983, by which time the lineup had racked up a raft of hits that many consider a keystone of modern urban pop.
But The Isley Brothers' significance cannot be expressed by chart statistics alone. In addition to their many other contributions to American popular music, the Brothers brought a virtually unknown guitarist by the name of Jimi Hendrix on their maiden tour of England, in 1964 (Hendrix made his first recordings with the Isleys and many more have noted the influence of Ernie Isley on his playing). On the European leg of that outing, their keyboardist was a young man named Elton John.
Ultimately, though, it's the Isleys' relationship to each other and not to their fellow performers - no matter how renowned - that defines them. Ernie accounts for their enduring success: "The Isley Brothers are a family and support group in addition to being a musical group. Right now, there are two of us physically, but when you say 'The Isley Brother,' all the brothers are with us in spirit. What we have is unique, beyond classification, and we are extremely grateful for it."