[The Isley Brothers (Photo Credit: Lewton Cole / Alamy Stock Photo)]
by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)
The Isley Brothers, all five of them, started as a gospel group in 1956. Twenty years later, they would create the funk classic Go For Your Guns.
The Isleys began their own record company, T-Neck Records, in 1964, shortly thereafter recruiting budding guitarist Jimi Hendrix for their band. They abandoned T-Neck and signed with Motown in 1965.
The list of Isley hits is long. It includes “It’s Your Thing,” “That Lady (Part 1),” “Fight the Power (Part 1),” and “For the Love of You (Part 1 and 2).”
More than any other band or artist, you can chart the changes in Black music via the Isley Brothers. Don’t take my word for it:
“With the possible exception of the Beatles, no band in the history of popular music, and certainly no African American act, has left a more substantial legacy on popular music than the Isley Brothers.” — Bob Gulla, Icons of R&B and Soul
“They’re the only group in the history of music to have a demonstrable influence on both the Beatles (who covered the Isleys’ take of “Twist And Shout” for one of their biggest early hits) and Ice Cube (who rapped over this album’s “Footsteps In The Dark, Pts. 1 & 2” on “It Was A Good Day”).” — Andrew Winistorfer
The Isleys have charted new music in every decade from the 1950s through the 2000s, without ever truly “crossing over” or betting any of the hyperbolic praise that other acts have received.
They have made the music they wanted to make for more than 50 years, and are arguably the most prolific and successful R&B /Rock group in the nation. Enjoy this playlist of their work.
And as always stay safe, sane, and kind.
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