Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the legendary soul group The Isley Brothers, has died at age 84, his family confirmed. “There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother,” Ronald Isley said in a statement to CBS News
Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the R&B institution the Isley Brothers, died on Wednesday. He was 84.
A publicist for the group confirmed Isley’s death. No cause was given.
“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother,” said Ronald Isley in a statement. “Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”
Rudolph, the second eldest son of the Isley clan, and brothers O’Kelly and Ronald formed the vocal harmony group during the dawn of rock ’n’ roll in the late 1950s. They spent the ensuing decades nimbly navigating shifting styles, building a formidable body of work in the process.
Primarily a backing singer in the Isley Brothers, Rudolph retired from the group in the late 1980s, but he played a central role during the first 30 years of their existence, a period when the Isleys were one of the biggest acts in R&B.
The Isley Brothers didn’t pioneer styles so much as crystallize their essences, on singles that turned into enduring classics. Their biggest hits — “Shout” and “Twist and Shout,” which arrived in the late 1950s and early 1960s; “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You),” a smash during Motown’s heyday in the 1960s; “It’s Your Thing” and “That Lady,” two keystones of 1970s funk — lived on not only through constant radio airplay but also through covers and sampled interpolations by the likes of the Beatles, Rod Stewart, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, the Notorious B.I.G. and Kendrick Lamar.