The only group in history to continue making the contemporary pop and R&B charts four decades after their very first recording, The Isley Brothers are a musical institution whose unmistakable sound has been the major influence for countless superstars of the 80′s and 90′s. Over the last decade, the group’s music has been sampled by everyone from Ice Cube to Boss, while their compositions have been pop and R&B standards with recordings by artist as diverse as Whitney Houston, The Doobie Brothers, and Rod Stewart.
In 1956, the three brothers moved to New York and after recording for some local labels (Teenage, Mark X, Cindy, and Gone), The Isleys signed with RCA Records in 1958. One year later, the group was riding the charts with the gospel-flavored R&B/pop classic “Shout” before signing with Atlantic for a brief but hitless spell.
In 1962, the group signed with Wand Records and had both R&B and pop audiences up on the dance floor with “Twist & Shout,” a No. 2 R&B smash and top 20 pop hit that became a standard item in the repertoire of a young British group from Liverpool known as The Beatles.
A stint with United Artists was followed by the original mid-’60s launch of their own T-Neck Records, an unprecedented move for any black music group of the day: the one release on the label, “Testify” featured none other than legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix who had been a member of the trio’s touring band.
After a short-lived second stay at Atlantic, The Isleys headed for Motown where they racked up more hits with “This Old Heart Of Mine ” (revived as a hit duet between Ronald and British superstar Rod Stewart in 1991) and “I Guess I’ll Always Love You.”
Popular performers on both sides of the Atlantic, the brothers revived T-Neck in 1969 and were soon slammin’ up the charts with the funky million-seller, “It’s Your Thing,” the first of seventeen hits that spanned the next four years including “Love The One Your With,” “Lay Away,” “Pop That Thang.” and “Work To Do.”