The Isley Brothers (pronounced /ˈaɪzliː/; IZE-lee) are a successful and long-running American group consisting of different line-ups of six brothers, and a brother-in-law, Chris Jasper. The founding and central members were O'Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley. Their music has developed from 1950's R&B, through Motown soul to 1970's funk, and they have had long-running success on the Billboard charts, being the only act to appear in the Top 40 in six separate decades. In 2006, they reached the Top Ten of the Billboard album chart for the ninth time. Over the years, the act has performed in a variety of genres, including doo-wop, R&B, rock 'n' roll, soul, funk, disco, urban adult contemporary and hip-hop soul. The group's lineups have ranged from a quartet to a trio to a sextet; and are currently a duo.
The band were formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1954, from the three elder sons of O'Kelly Isley, Sr. and Sally Bell Isley: O'Kelly Jr., Rudolph and Ronald, and recorded with small labels singing doo-wop and rock 'n' roll. After modest success with singles such as "Shout", "Twist and Shout" and the Motown single "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)", and a brief tenure with Jimi Hendrix as a background guitar player, the group settled on a brand of gritty soul and funk defined by the Grammy-winning smash "It's Your Thing" in 1969.
After reforming the group as a six-member lineup in 1973, featuring younger brothers Ernie and Marvin and brother-in-law Chris Jasper, they became known as 3 + 3 and charted gold and platinum success with albums such as 3 + 3, The Heat Is On, Go For Your Guns and Between the Sheets, while charting a succession of hit singles such as "That Lady", "Fight the Power", "For the Love of You", "Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)" and "Between the Sheets", between 1973 and 1983.
After the younger brothers splintered from the group in 1984 the remaining trio continued recording until O'Kelly's death from a cancer-related heart attack in 1986. Rudolph left the group for a career in the ministry in 1989. In 1991 Ron reformed the group with Ernie and Marvin returning to the lineup. Since 1997 after diabetes forced Marvin into retirement, the lineup has been Ron and Ernie (now on hiatus due to Ron's current prison sentence after a tax evasion conviction in 2006). The Isleys recordings have been sampled by 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Outkast, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, among others.
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