You may not think you know the Isley Brothers, siblings out of Cincinnati, but it’s likely that you’ve heard at least some of their music, even if it was performed by someone else.
O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph, Ronald, and Vernon started out in gospel until Vernon’s early death from a bike accident. The remaining trio moved to the New York City area in the late 1950s. Their first significant song was Shout [LISTEN] in 1959, written by the brothers, which only went to #47, but eventually sold a million copies, and was heavily covered.
In a similar vein, Twist and Shout [LISTEN] got all the way to #17 in 1962. It was originally recorded by the Topnotes, and produced by Phil Spector, who was still learning his craft. The Isleys version spurred other covers, notably by a band from Liverpool, England.
The trio spent three or four years with Motown, but like other groups that weren’t developed in house, such as the Spinners, they would fare better elsewhere. They did have one Top 40 hit Continue reading I is for the Isley Brothers