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The Isley Brothers were one of the most influential and longest-lived groups in U.S. history, with a career that began in the 1950s through major personnel shifts and stylistic changes. They started out as a gospel group in their home town of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1954, featuring brothers Vernon, Ronald, Rudolph and O'Kelly Isley. Vernon was killed by an automobile at the tender age of 13, temporarily putting a stop to the group's career. But in 1957 the surviving brothers relocated to New York City where they reinvented themselves as an R&B outfit. They spent 1957-'58 releasing a string of unsuccessful singles for a variety of small labels, but their fortunes began changing when they started making records for RCA in 1959. That year they released their milestone single "Shout," which was initially just a minor hit but eventually earned iconic status; it introduced the Isleys' blend of R&B with gospel call-and-response to the world at large. But further hits were not forthcoming, and in 1962 they moved to the Wand label, where they scored a Top 20 single with "Twist and Shout." The following year, the song would become a key part of The Beatles' early repertoire, appearing on their debut album. In...

The Isley Brothers were one of the most influential and longest-lived groups in U.S. history, with a career that began in the 1950s through major personnel shifts and stylistic changes. They started out as a gospel group in their home town of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1954, featuring brothers Vernon, Ronald, Rudolph and O'Kelly Isley. Vernon was killed by an automobile at the tender age of 13, temporarily putting a stop to the group's career. But in 1957 the surviving brothers relocated to New York City where they reinvented themselves as an R&B outfit. They spent 1957-'58 releasing a string of unsuccessful singles for a variety of small labels, but their fortunes began changing when they started making records for RCA in 1959. That year they released their milestone single "Shout," which was initially just a minor hit but eventually earned iconic status; it introduced the Isleys' blend of R&B with gospel call-and-response to the world at large. But further hits were not forthcoming, and in 1962 they moved to the Wand label, where they scored a Top 20 single with "Twist and Shout." The following year, the song would become a key part of The Beatles' early repertoire, appearing on their debut album. In 1964, having moved to New Jersey, The Isleys started their own label, T-Neck Records. They brought a young Jimi Hendrix aboard as their lead guitarist, and he played on a couple of their singles before leaving the following year. In 1966 the group started recording for Motown, earning a hit with "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)." But by '69 they were back on T-Neck, now distributed by Buddah, and they scored their biggest hit ever with the funk-flavored "It's Your Thing," redefining themselves again for a new era. In the early '70s a revamped version of the Isley Brothers emerged, including Ernie Isley on guitar and drums, Marvin Isley on bass, and cousin Chris Jasper on keyboards. The new lineup introduced a sound blending R&B with rock influences, exemplified by the 1973 hit "That Lady," driven by Ernie's psychedelic guitar licks. The Isleys continued to change with the times in the '80s, but by the end of that decade, with members coming in and out, but by the '90s the lineup was Ronald, Ernie, and Marvin. The latter exited in 1997, leaving The Isley Brothers a duo, but they kept scoring hit records in the 2000s, and continued working into the 2010s.

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