Rudolph Isley of the Isley Brothers dies at 84

October 14, 2023
Jen Krausz

Rudolph Isley, of the famous singing group The Isley Brothers whose hits included "Shout," "Twist and Shout," and "It's Your Thing," died Wednesday at age 84

“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place,” Ronald Isley said in a statement released Thursday by an Isley Brothers publicist.

Other details like cause of death and location were not provided in the statement.

Isley grew up in Cincinnati and got his start singing in church with his brothers. He was part of a gospel quartet with brothers O'Kelly, Robert, and Vernon, but Vernon tragically died when he was 13.

Gaining popularity

The group's first hit, "Shout," was released to the public airwaves in 1959, a few years after the band was formed. It was meant to be a secular version of a gospel rave, which was popular at the time.

In the early 1960s, "Twist and Shout" became famous, and the Beatles used it on their debut album. Jimi Hendrix played on several of their singles during that time period.

Another hit by the brothers, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You),” was later covered by Rod Stewart.

They won a Grammy Award in 1970 for the song "It's Your Thing," from the 1969 album "It's Our Thing."

Adding the funk

During the 1970s, brothers Ernest and Marvin joined the group, and their hits took on a funkier sound.

“That Lady” and “Fight the Power (Part 1)” and million-selling albums as “The Heat Is On” and “Go for Your Guns” came out of that time period and were some of the biggest-sellers of their career.

Rudolph Isley left the group in 1989, three years after O’Kelly Isley suddenly died, and became a Christian minister.

The Isleys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame last year.

An iconic sound

Their songs have become iconic over the years and have been used for movies and commercials.

They were the only act to have singles on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s after their "Contagious" single hit the charts in 2001.

The band was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2014.


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