Rudolph Isley of The Isley Brothers dies at 84

Oct. 12 (UPI) — Rudolph Isley, one of the founding members of the mega hit makers The Isley Brothers, has died at 84.

His brother Ronald said he died Wednesday but did not give a cause.

The Isley Brothers originally were from Ohio in the 1950s. The R&B group sold more than 18 million records in the United States alone and perhaps are best known for the group’s 1959 single “Shout!”

Isley was a highly regarded gospel singer before he helped form the band with his brothers in 1954 and, following a sensational career as a superstar, went on to serve as a Christian minister in 1989, fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him,” Ronald Isley wrote. “But I know he’s in a better place.”

Rudolph’s daughter also confirmed the death and released a statement of her own.

“Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the world famous Isley Brothers, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of October 11, 2023,” she wrote. “He died at his home, with his devoted wife, Elaine, by his side. They had been married for 68 years. Rudolph was a deeply religious man who loved Jesus.”

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1939, Rudolph Isley was singing with his brothers O’Kelly, Ronald and Vernon in the family band, the Isley Brothers, by the time he was a teenager.

The boys came in off the road after 13-year old Vernon was killed in a bicycle accident, but in 1957 the three surviving brothers moved to New York and signed a record deal with RCA.

Their first mega-hit, “Shout!” followed soon after, which launched an album of the same name.

The brothers then performed Phil Medley and Bert Berns’ instant classic “Twist & Shout,” creating another fan favorite.

Based on the tune’s overwhelming popularity, the Beatles performed “Twist & Shout,” making what is widely considered a legendary and the most-remembered version of the smash hit.

It’s Your Thing” earned The Isley Brothers their first Grammy in 1969

The brothers played with other musical icons in the 1960s, including Jimi Hendrix, who briefly played backup guitar in the brothers’ band, and Elton John, who just completed his farewell tour this year.

At the time of his death, Rudolph was entangled in a legal battle with brother Ronald over the trademark of the Isley Brothers name.

The Isleys Brothers were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and Rudolph entered the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2022.

Dick Butkus

Dick Butkus, legendary Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the 1960s and early ’70s, attends the Wrigley Field 100th anniversary game in Chicago in 2014. Butkus died October 5 at age 80. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

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