Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we are proud to present The Isley Brothers. The future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers (1992) began singing together as youngsters in 1950. Ronald, Rudolph, 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 Brothers later expanded to include Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper.
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 Brothers,’ all the brothers are with us in spirit. What we have is unique, beyond classification, and we are extremely grateful for it.”