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Rudolph Isley, one of the original members of the legendary R&B group The Isley Brothers, passed away on Wednesday at his home in Illinois. He was 84 years old.
A Musical Legacy
Rudolph Isley, along with his brothers O’Kelly, Ronald and Vernon, formed The Isley Brothers in the mid-1950s as a gospel quartet. After Vernon’s tragic death in 1957, the remaining brothers moved to New York and pursued a recording career, landing their first major hit with “Shout!” in 1959.
The Isley Brothers went on to record for various labels, including RCA, Atlantic and Motown, and scored classics such as “Twist & Shout”, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” and “It’s Your Thing”, which won them a Grammy in 1970. They also founded their own label, T-Neck Records, and expanded their lineup with younger brothers Ernie and Marvin and brother-in-law Chris Jasper.
Rudolph Isley sang backup vocals and occasionally took the lead on songs such as “You Still Feel the Need” and “It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)”. He was known for his distinctive style of wearing hats and fur coats and carrying a cane. He left the group and the music industry in 1989 to become a Christian minister. He reunited with his brothers in 1992 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
A Family Statement
Rudolph Isley’s death was confirmed by his brother Ronald, who said in a statement: “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.”
A cause of death has not been disclosed yet. Rudolph Isley is survived by his wife Elaine, whom he married in 1958, and their children. He is also remembered by his fans and peers as a pioneer of R&B music and a part of one of the most influential groups of all time.
Rudolph Isley Achievements
Rudolph Isley was one of the founding members of The Isley Brothers, a legendary R&B group that had many hits and awards over several decades. Some of his achievements are:
- He co-wrote and sang on the Grammy Hall of Fame single, “Shout!” in 1959.
- He founded the T-Neck Records label with his brothers and recorded with Jimi Hendrix as their guitarist.
- He shared lead vocals on songs such as “Fight the Power” and “It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)”.
- He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
He was also known for his distinctive style of wearing hats and fur coats and carrying a cane. He left the music industry in 1989 to become a Christian minister. He died on October 11, 2023 at the age of 84. He is remembered as a pioneer of R&B music and a part of one of the most influential groups of all time.