Home Blog Rudolph Isley, founding member of The Isley Brothers and 'Shout … – USA TODAY

Rudolph Isley, founding member of The Isley Brothers and 'Shout … – USA TODAY


Singer-songwriter Rudolph Isley, one of the founding members of the R&B group The Isley Brothers, has died. He was 84.
Isley died on Wednesday, a representative for The Isley Brothers confirmed to USA TODAY in an email Thursday. A cause of death was not disclosed. TMZ was the first to report the news.
“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother,” brother Ronald Isley said in a statement. “Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”
Comprised of brothers Rudolph, Marvin, O’Kelly, Ronald and Ernie Isley and rounded out with musician Chris Jasper, the Isleys formed in Cincinnati in 1954 when Rudolph, O’Kelly, Ronald and brother Vernon Isley started singing in church. The group disbanded in 1955 after 13-year-old Vernon was struck and killed by a car as he was riding his bike in his neighborhood.
In 1957, with their parents’ blessing, the remaining brothers decided to regroup and move to New York, with Ronald assuming lead vocals. The group would go on to sign with major label RCA Records for their 1959 debut album.
Rudolph was one of the group’s primary songwriters and co-wrote the Brothers’ breakthrough 1959 hit “Shout.” After being immortalized in the 1978 comedy “Animal House,” the song has been used as a rallying cry at sporting events ever since. 
The group, which added brothers Marvin and Ernie and brother-in-law Jasper to the lineup in 1973, went on to enjoy other hits with songs such as “Twist and Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “That Lady” and “Fight The Power,” with the latter three co-written by Isley.
When their song “Contagious” climbed the charts in 2001, it gave them the distinction of being the act with the longest chart span on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart at 42 years.
Isley left the band in the late ’80s after their album “Spend the Night,” released in October 1989, was recorded. He went on to pursue a career in Christian ministry, according to Isley’s profile on the Songwriters Hall of Fame official website.
The Isley Brothers have been nominated for multiple Grammy awards and won the prize for best R&B vocal performance by a duo or group in 1970 for “It’s Your Thing.” The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and in 2014, the band received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Recording Academy.
The band was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2022. Representing the group at the ceremony were Elaine Isley Goodstone, Ernie Isley and Ronald Isley. During the induction, Ernie Isley reminded guests that their early hit “Shout” was recorded six decades ago and the reach of their music would go on for years, prompting The Beatles to cover them. The two men then joined up for a medley of hits that included “That Lady,” “It’s Your Thing” and “Between the Sheets.”
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The group has also experienced some friction amid its historic success. In March, Isley sued brother Ronald for registering a federal trademark for The Isley Brothers name, claiming the band name is supposed to be jointly owned, according to Billboard.
Per Billboard, Isley requested joint ownership rights for the trademark and a share of any revenue Ronald had earned from it.
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Contributing: Cincinnati Enquirer; Mark Kennedy and David Porter, The Associated Press



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