Founding Member of Isley Brothers Dead at 84

Rudolph Isley scored huge hits with 'Shout,' 'Twist and Shout'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2023 5:27 AM CDT

Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the Isley Brothers who helped perform such raw rhythm and blues classics as "Shout" and "Twist and Shout" and the funky hits "That Lady" and "It's Your Thing," has died at age 84, the AP reports. "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," Ronald Isley said in a statement released Thursday by an Isley Brothers publicist. Brother Ernie Isley tells the New York Times that Rudolph died in his sleep at his Chicago home. He says he wasn't aware of any health issues.

A Cincinnati native, Rudolph Isley began singing in church with brothers Ronald and O'Kelly (another sibling, Vernon, died at age 13) and was still in his teens when they broke through in the late 1950s with "Shout," a secularized gospel number that was later immortalized during the toga party scene in Animal House. The Isleys scored again in the early 1960s with the equally spirited "Twist and Shout," which the Beatles liked so much they used it as the closing song on their debut album and opened with it for their famed 1965 concert at Shea Stadium.

The Isleys' other hits included "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," later covered by Rod Stewart, and the Grammy-winning "It's Your Thing." In the 1970s, after younger brothers Ernie and Marvin joined the group, they had even greater success with such singles as "That Lady" and "Fight the Power (Part 1)" and such million-selling albums as "The Heat Is On" and "Go for Your Guns." Rudolph Isley left the group in 1989, three years after the sudden death of O'Kelly Isley, to become a Christian minister. He was among the Isleys inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

(More obituary stories.)

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