Cincinnati's Isley Brothers—made up of Ronald and Ernie Isley—have had a long and musically diverse career since they began in the 1950s singing gospel music. During the early 1960s, they initially established their reputation as a fine live R&B act,… Read more
Cincinnati's Isley Brothers—made up of Ronald and Ernie Isley—have had a long and musically diverse career since they began in the 1950s singing gospel music. During the early 1960s, they initially established their reputation as a fine live R&B act, achieving modest success with several independently released singles and featuring a young Jimi Hendrix playing lead guitar in their touring band. By the mid-1960s, Hendrix had departed and the brothers signed on with Motown Records. They would score a big hit in 1966 with "This Old Heart Of Mine," but despite this success, they grew increasingly frustrated at Motown, where they were relegated to second-class status, behind top groups like the Supremes and the Temptations. This eventually found them parting ways with the label and signing with Buddha Records in 1969. Here they attained newfound faith in themselves and began a conscious effort to update their image and sound. They soon hit it big again with the funk anthem, "It's Your Thing," which shot up the charts, earning them their only Grammy Award and going on to sell over five million copies. The group's sound was now more innovative, mixing their R&B roots with the funky soul stylings of James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone. When the older vocalizing brothers added younger musician brothers, Ernie and Marvin, as well as brother-in-law Chris Jasper to the mix, everything really began to jell and this younger blood became an integral factor in redefining the vocal group as a band.
This late 1960s/early 1970s era was a time of growth for The Isley Brothers and they produced some of their most enduring music during these years. In 1973, now signed to Epic, the Isleys recorded the groundbreaking 3 + 3, which immediately took off with the reworking of their 1964 original, "Who's That Lady," now re-titled "That Lady, Pt. 1 & 2."
The 3 + 3 album would eventually be certified platinum and would begin a string of gold and platinum record achievements throughout the remainder of the decade. They are seen as one of the greatest R&B groups of all-time.