Photo caption: The Isley Brothers in 1969 (Left to right: Rudolph, Ronald and O’Kelly Isley). (Credit:T-Neck Records)
While death is an inevitable part of life, that fact doesn’t make it any easier when it is reported that someone has died.
At NewsOne, we’re using this space as both a celebration as well as a commemoration of the lives of notable Black people who left their indelible marks on the planet while they were here with us.
Rudolph Isley, founder of the famous singing group The Isley Brothers, has passed away in Illinois at the age of 84, according to TMZ. His cause of death has not been confirmed, but sources tell TMZ they believe he suffered a heart attack.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 1, 1939, Rudolph Isley started his music career in the church singing with his brothers, Ronald, O’Kelly, and Vernon. Rudolph would go on to create The Isley Brothers when he was just a teenager. After the passing of his brother Vernon, the three remaining Isley Brothers moved to New York to pursue their dream in music. In 1959, the group landed a deal with RCA and recorded their first song, “Shout.”
In the 1960’s the brothers went on to form their own label called T-Neck Records, dropping the Grammy-winning hit “It’s Your Thing” in 1969. Although Ron Isley was the main lead singer of the group, Rudolph also had extremely strong vocals and sometimes recorded lead vocals for the group.
Younger brothers Ernie and Marvin would also later join the group as they continued to record hits like “Fight the Power” and “Livin’ in the Life.”
In 1986, Rudolph’s older brother Kelly died in his sleep from a heart attack. Kelly’s death devastated Rudy and in 1989 he left the group and the music industry to become a Christian minister.
The Isley Brothers’ music would go on to inspire some of the most influential names in music, such as Jimmy Hendrix, Micheal Jackson, Boyz II Men, Usher and many more.
In March, Rudolph filed a lawsuit against his younger brother, Ron Isley, accusing him of filing the trademark for the family band’s name and taking all of the profits for himself.
Regardless of some of the drama, the legendary Isley Brothers have over 18 million recordings sold in the US alone. They have reached the Billboard 100 in five different decades. They also have a Lifetime Grammy Award. They are arguably one of the most influential R&B groups to ever make music.
Fans and celebs took to social to pay their respects to the legendary singer.
Radio Personality and host Donnie Simpson wrote, “So sorry to hear that we’ve lost Rudolph Isley of the legendary #IsleyBrothers. Musical excellence since 1954. Most people that can make that claim were in that group. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans around the world. RIP my brother.”
This article originally appeared on NewsOne.