In the late 1950s and early '60s, The Isley Brothers' combination of gospel and raw rock and roll yielded classic hits such as Shout and Twist And Shout. They went on to become hitmakers for Motown Records, pioneers in the fusion of rock and funk, and soul balladeers, with tunes such as This Old Heart Of Mine and Who's That Lady. The Isley Brothers now have their first Number One album in almost 30 years, called Body Kiss.
Led by the unmistakable voice of Ronald Isley, The Isley Brothers have crossed musical and generational boundaries. Over the past four decades, their tunes have been covered by The Beatles, Rod Stewart and dozens of other artists. A young, up-and-coming guitarist by the name of Jimi Hendrix was featured on some of their early recordings.
The Isleys have been honored with dozens of awards and honors in pop, rock, and R&B music. They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and, this past year, they received the Founders Award at Billboard magazine's R&B/Hip-Hop Awards.
Ronald Isley believes the group's secret to success is "Just a lot of prayers, loving what you do, and just being very competitive. We've always been a competitive family in this business, and you always want to try to hang in there at the top. In order to do that, you have to love what you do, and you have to be blessed."
The Isley Brothers' Body Kiss just debuted at the top of the Billboard magazine albums chart, and is their first Number One album since 1975's The Heat Is On. Guests artists include Snoop Dogg, Lil' Kim, and R. Kelly, who produced and arranged most of the album. Body Kiss also features Ronald Isley's alter-ego, the fashionably dressed Mr. Biggs.
How does a band maintain commercial success for nearly 50 years? Ronald Isley comments, "Most of the other acts couldn't get with rap and new technology like drum machines. That's never been a problem for us, we accept and adapt to change. That's the strength of The Isleys." On August 1 and 2, The Isley Brothers will perform at the third annual Detroit Music Festival, sharing the stage with their contemporaries The Temptations and The Four Tops, along with the next generation of R&B, represented by P. Diddy, R. Kelly and India Arie.