Rudolph Isley, one of the founding members of the renowned music group The Isley Brothers, has passed away at the age of 84. TMZ reported his death on Wednesday in Illinois, and although the exact cause of death remains uncertain, an insider indicated that he may have suffered a heart attack.
In a statement obtained by CNN, Ronald Isley, the lead singer of The Isley Brothers, confirmed the loss, saying, “There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him, but I know he’s in a better place.”
Rudolph Isley was instrumental in shaping the legacy of The Isley Brothers, known for their hits like “For the Love of You,” “Parts 1 & 2,” and “Shout.”
Rudolph, alongside his siblings Ronald, the late O’Kelly, and Vernon, who tragically passed away at the age of 13 in a 1955 car accident, founded the group. The band continued with Ronald as the lead singer, while Rudolph and O’Kelly served as backup singers. Later, brothers Ernie, Marvin and Rudolph’s brother-in-law, Chris Jasper, joined the group. The Isley Brothers produced hit songs like “Shout” (1959), “Twist and Shout” (covered by the Beatles in 1962), “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” (1966), “It’s Your Thing” (1969), “That Lady” (1973), and “Fight the Power” (1975).
Throughout their illustrious career, The Isley Brothers won two Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, with Little Richard having the honor of inducting them.
Between 1975 and 1980, The Isley Brothers recorded 14 Top 10 R&B hits, including “Fight the Power Part 1,” “Harvest for the World,” and “Livin’ in the Life.”
Rudolph Isley married Elaine Jasper in 1958 and later departed from the band to become a Christian minister, as reported by The Sun. The band’s influence extended over the years, with their music sampled by numerous artists such as Gwen Stefani, 50 Cent, and Biggie Smalls.
In recent years, The Isley Brothers continued to create music, releasing “Power of Peace” in 2017 and “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” in 2022. They also collaborated with contemporary stars like Beyoncé and Snoop Dogg, releasing “Friends and Family” with Snoop and a remake of “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” with Beyoncé.
Describing the band’s enduring legacy in an interview with Billboard last year, Ernie Isley said, “Since the beginning with ‘Twist and Shout’ [the group’s first top 5 R&B single in 1962], the Isley Brothers’ music has basically influenced everybody that you might want to name — from the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to the Average White Band and Whitney Houston. Our catalog is constantly in a position of being rediscovered.
How many times has ‘Between the Sheets’ been sampled? Ice Cube’s ‘It Was a Good Day’ samples our ‘Footsteps in the Dark.’ Then you’ve got a lead vocalist who’s gone from ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Between the Sheets’ to ‘It’s Your Thing,’ ‘That Lady,’ and ‘Harvest for the World.’ I mean, the man is my brother [laughs]. But when it comes to that vocal instrument and its recognition factor/influence … We’ve stretched around the world with our music by grace. So Lord willing, I expect it to continue and thrive.”