Rudolph Isley, one of the three founding members of the Isley Brothers, on the left in the photo, has died at the age of 84, his daughter has reported online. Rudolph Isley has died accompanied by his wife, Elaine, to whom he had been married for 68 years.
Originally, brothers Rudolph, O’Kelly and Ronald Isley formed the Isley Brothers in the late 1950s. Their first major commercial hit, ‘Shout’, came in 1959. Later, brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley joined the band. training, as well as Rudolph’s stepbrother, Chris Jasper.
Although in trio format the Isley Brothers obtained great hits such as ‘This Old Heart of Mine’ or ‘It’s a Thing’, the commercial peak of their career occurred when the group became a sextet, during the 70s and 80s. Their most successful albums include ‘3 + 3’, ‘Between the Sheets’ and ‘The Heat is On’, and singles such as ‘That Lady’, the title track ‘Between the Sheets’, ‘Fight the Power’ and ‘Harvest for the World’ are R&B and soul classics.
The Isley Brothers are among the most influential bands in R&B history, evident in the number of times they have been (and continue to be) covered or sampled. Not so long ago Drake sampled them in ‘Her Loss’. Of course, Gwen Stefani’s ‘Luxurious’ was totally based on ‘Between the Sheets’, a song that surely inspired Amy Winehouse’s ‘Between the Cheats’. It was also not long ago that Frank Ocean released a cover of Aaliyah’s ‘At Your Best (You Are Love)’, which in turn was a cover of the Isley Brothers. Aaliyah herself covered them again with ‘Choosey Lover’. Kendrick Lamar also incorporated a portion of ‘Who’s That Lady’ into ‘i’. In 2022, Beyoncé joined in on a new version of ‘Make Me Say It Again, Baby’.
Of the Isley Brothers, Ronald, Ernie and Chris survive today. O’Kelly died in 1984, and Marvin in 2010. A first brother, Vernon, died when O’Kelly and Ronald were still teenagers, prior to the band’s formation, in a bicycle accident.