Since the early 1950s, the Isley Brothers have been hard at work, making music in genres ranging from doo-wop to rock. Brothers O’Kelly Jr, Ronald, Vernon, and Rudolph Isley started their music career in Cincinnati, Ohio, performing gospel in churches across the city. Following the death of their younger brother Vernon in 1955, the group took a hiatus until late 1958 when the group reformed in New York City. With their first hit “Shout” (1959) making it into the charts, they found renewed interest from other companies in their music, one of which was Motown. They didn’t initially sign to any labels, instead choosing to form their own company: T-Neck. While they released a few songs on the label they soon realized they needed the help of larger labels to grow.
After meeting with Berry Gordy in 1965, the group decided to shelve their company and sign with Motown on the Tamla label. Once at Motown they were paired with Holland-Dozier-Holand who jumpstarted work on their debut Motown album This Old Heart Of Mine. Released in 1966, it entered the US R&B charts at #15. From that album came their hit song “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You). With it reaching #12 on the US pop charts and #6 on the US R&B charts; it was certified gold. They began work on their next album Soul On The Rocks (1967). Although the album failed to reach the same level of popularity, it included a few songs that charted: “Got To Have You Back” and “That’s The Way Love Is.”
The group remained with Motown until 1968 when they decided to revive T-Neck Records and move to New Jersey. There, they brought other family members into the band and continued to record music. Since then, they have received numerous awards and accolades for their music including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
Before joining Motown, they worked with guitarist Jimi Hendrix on some of their earlier music.
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