Category: the isley brothers

On this day in music history: August 7, 1973 -…

On this day in music history: August 7, 1973 – “3 + 3”, the eleventh album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from Early – Mid 1973. Enjoying a string of hits since “It’s Your Thing” in 1969, The Isley Brothers undergo significant changes in the new decade. Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly bring brothers Ernie, Marvin and brother-in-law Chris Jasper into the fold. The younger three first participate as backing musicians, becoming full time members upon completing their educations. The Isley’s label T-Neck signs with CBS Records, after their contract with Buddah Records ends at the end of 1972. Looking for assistance with their next album, The Isleys contact Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil. The masterminds behind Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, the duo are also the catalysts behind Stevie Wonder’s innovative use of synthesizers during the 70’s. The band first meet the pair while working with Wonder, as they’re recording “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”. The band ask the duo to work with them, with Margouleff and Cecil signing on to engineer their album, recording in Studio B at The Record Plant. Unhappy with the sound of Ernie Isley’s guitar, Malcolm Cecil introduces him to famed British electronics engineer Roger Mayer. Inventor of the Octavia effects pedal, Mayer is one of the architects behind Jimi Hendrix’s technical innovations. He plays a vital role in assisting Ernie in shaping his signature guitar sound. A mixture of originals and well chosen covers, The Isley Brothers record the album in only six weeks. It is led by a dramatic reworking of the band’s song “That Lady” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop), released on July 14, 1973. First recorded in 1964 as “Who’s That Lady?”, it is reinvented as an up tempo R&B/Rock groove, topped by Ernie’s epic solos. Its success marks the beginning of a new and hugely successful era for the veteran R&B band. The album spins off two more singles including “What It Comes Down To” (#5 R&B, #55 Pop), and a cover of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” (#10 R&B, #60 Pop). “3 + 3” is also remixed and issued as a quadraphonic stereo LP and 8-track tape in 1974. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 2003 with one additional bonus track. The quadraphonic mix is also reissued as a hybrid SACD in 2001 (also including the original stereo mix) which becomes a sought after collectible after it goes out of print. Unavailable on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2013, and as a limited edition blue vinyl pressing by Friday Music in 2014. The CD is remastered again in 2015 as part of the box set “The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983)”, with nine additional bonus tracks. “3 + 3” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 19, 1975 – …

On this day in music history: July 19, 1975 – “Fight The Power” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on September 27, 1975. Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and O’Kelly Isley, it is the second R&B chart topper for the family band from Cincinnati, OH. Though credited to the entire band, the song is actually written almost entirely by guitarist Ernie Isley. The initial idea for the song comes to him while on a visit to Disneyland in Southern California. As he’s taking a shower, the lyrics to the first verse immediately come to him, forcing him to jump out of the shower to write it down before forgetting it. A short time later, the band cut the track at Kendun Recorders in Los Angeles. Older brother and lead singer Ronald Isley adds the crowning touch to the song by singing the word “bullsh*t” on the song instead of “nonsense” as it had been originally written. Part 2 of the commercial 45 also includes an awkward edit, cutting out the expletive by splicing in music from the songs intro. This version is also serviced to radio as well. Many stations that are unhappy with this edit make their own edits, often just bleeping out the offending word in the proper places. Issued as the first single from the bands twelfth studio album “The Heat Is On” in May of 1975, it is an immediate smash. “Fight The Power” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 30, 1975 – &…

On this day in music history: May 30, 1975 – “The Heat Is On”, the twelfth studio album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA in Early 1975. After the back to back successes of their first two CBS distributed albums “3 + 3” and “Live It Up”, The Isley Brothers continue their artistic and commercial hot streak with their third release in as many years. The album is uniquely sequenced with all of the uptempo tracks on the first side, and the ballads on side two. Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, best known for their work with Stevie Wonder, assists keyboardist Chris Jasper with the synthesizer programming during the sessions. It spins off two singles including “Fight The Power” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop) and “For The Love Of You” (#10 R&B, #22 Pop), selling over a half a million copies in its first month, becoming the bands largest selling album to date. It also becomes their first number one pop album on Sept. 13, 1975, one of only three R&B bands to accomplish this feat during the 70’s (Earth, Wind & Fire and The Ohio Players being the other two), also spending four weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the R&B album chart on July 19, 1975. As well as its hit singles and familiar album tracks, the second side ballad “Make Me Say It Again Girl”, becomes the basis of Naughty By Nature’s smash “Hip Hop Hooray” in 1993. The song is cleverly speed altered and sampled by the New Jersey based rap trio, making it virtually unrecognizable from its original incarnation. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, with one additional bonus track. It is remastered again 2015 as part of the CD box “The "The Isley Brothers – The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983)”, without the extra bonus track from the previous issue. The album is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Friday Music also in 2015. “The Heat Is On” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 26, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 26, 1979 – “I Wanna Be With You” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week. Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Rudolph Isley, O’Kelly Isley and Ronald Isley, it is the fifth chart topping single for the R&B/Funk family band from Cincinnati, OH. With the Isley Brothers coming off the the success of “Showdown”, their fourth consecutive Platinum selling album, they return to Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, NY to begin work on the follow up. Guitarist Ernie Isley come up with the initial idea for the funky “I Wanna Be With You”, with bassist Marvin Isley and their brother in law keyboardist Chris Jasper working out the basic structure of the song, then writing the melody and lyrics over the next few days. With the song finished, the other brothers add their vocals to the track. Issued as the first single from their seventeenth album “Winner Takes All” in April of 1979, “I Wanna Be With You” quickly zooms to the top of the R&B chart, hitting the pole position a month before the double LP arrives in record stores. Surprisingly, it is one of the few Isleys singles not to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, though it propels the album to Gold plus status in the US.

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Born on this day: May 21, 1941 – Isley Brother…

Born on this day: May 21, 1941 – Isley Brothers lead vocalist Ronald Isley (born in Cincinnati, OH). Happy 78th Birthday, Ron (aka Mr. Biggs 😀 )!!

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On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1978 – “Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks. Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Rudolph Isley, O’Kelly Isley and Ronald Isley, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the family band from Cincinnati, OH. The main body of the song is written by the three younger members of the band while recording at Bearsville Studios in upstate New York. They cut two different versions of the song before settling on the final released version. It is issued as the first single from their sixteenth studio album “Showdown” in March of 1978. “Take Me” surprisingly does not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, though its success on the R&B chart helps propel the “Showdown” album to Platinum status, peaking at number four on the Billboard Top 200, spending three weeks at number one on the R&B album chart. In 2004, Sony Legacy releases a remix album of Isley Brothers classics titled “Taken To The Next Phase”. The set features ten of the band’s best known songs remixed by Will I. Am, Stuart Matthewman (of Sade), Raphael Saadiq and Mos Def. The remix version of “Take Me To The Next Phase” featured on the album is by the production team The Ignorants.

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On this day in music history: April 24, 1983…

On this day in music history: April 24, 1983 – “Between The Sheets”, the twenty second album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Bearsville, NY from November 1982 – February 1983. In their third decade, The Isley Brothers begin the 80’s with the Platinum “Go All The Way” and the Gold plus “Grand Slam” albums. The next two albums “Inside You” and “The Real Deal”, become their first not to go Gold since 1973. Creative differences and financial difficulties add to the discord. With the younger members Ernie, Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper at the creative center, much of their next album is written in the studio. During the sessions, R&B superstar Marvin Gaye is in the middle of making a major comeback with “Sexual Healing”. Ernie begins writing in a similar vein, and comes up with a verse of lyrics, ending with “sharing our love…”. Showing it to Chris, he grabs a pen and paper, writing down the words “between the sheets”, and tells Ernie to sing them. The pair realize that they are on to something special. Chris comes up with the bridge including the lyrics “Ooh baby, I feel your love surrounding me, ooh baby, sharing our love, between the sheets.”. Also changing the chords, he changes the rhythm. Younger brother Marvin writes the next two verses, with Jasper adding the final coda “Oh, I love the way you receive me, Girl, I love the way you relieve me…I’m comin’, comin’ on strong, sweet darlin’, in between the sheets.”. With the three older brothers adding their vocals, the track is complete. Titled “Between The Sheets” (#3 R&B, #101 Pop), it is released as the first single on March 9, 1983, and becomes an instant classic. The album’s upward momentum is so great, it temporarily breaks Michael Jackson’s thirty seven week long stint at #1 with “Thriller”. In later years, “Between The Sheets” takes on a life of its own, becoming a cornerstone sample in Hip Hop. It forms the basis of numerous rap classics by A Tribe Called Quest, The Notorious B.I.G. and Keith Murray to name a few. “Sheets” is also covered by Fourplay & Chaka Khan, and Raheem DeVaughn. The follow up single “Choosey Lover” (#6 R&B) also attains classic status. “Lover” is covered by Aaliyah, and is sampled and interpolated by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Nas, and Keith Sweat. In spite of hitting a musical home run, it also marks the end of the classic “3+3” line up, with Ernie, Marvin and Chris leaving to form Isley Jasper Isley, while the older siblings continue without them. Originally released on CD in 1990, “Sheets” is remastered and reissued in 2015, featuring five additional bonus tracks. “Between The Sheets” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 23, 1977 -…

On this day in music history: April 23, 1977 – “The Pride (Part 1)” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #63 on the Hot 100 on May 28, 1977. Written by Rudolph Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley, it is the third R&B chart topper for the family sextet from Cincinnati, OH. Keyboardist Chris Jasper comes up with the initial idea and basic structure of the song. The track is cut at Bearsville Studios in near Woodstock, NY in November 1976. Released as the first single from The Isley Brothers’ fifteenth studio album “Go For Your Guns”, it is an immediate hit on R&B radio. It is also the first Isleys single to be issued as a commercially released 12" (b/w “Hope You Feel Better Love” from “The Heat Is On” album). Though “The Pride” is another R&B chart topper, surprisingly it fails to become a major pop crossover hit. However, it helps to continue the bands streak of million selling albums. It propels the “Go For Your Guns” album to number one on the Billboard R&B album chart (for one week), to number six on the Top 200 in the Spring of 1977, and to Platinum status in the US.

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On this day in music history: April 19, 1980 -…

On this day in music history: April 19, 1980 – “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love)” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #39 on the Hot 100 on May 24, 1980. Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and O’Kelly Isley, it is the sixth and final R&B chart topper for the family sextet from Cincinnati, OH. By 1980, the once harmonious “3+3” line up of The Isley Brothers are showing signs of those family bonds splitting apart. Having major disagreements over musical direction, money and unhappy at the somewhat lukewarm response to their previous album 1979’s “Winner Takes All”, the three younger members Ernie and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper make plans to leave the band to form their own. One of the songs they intend to record for their debut (as “Isley Jasper Isley”) is the silky ballad “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love)”. But with The Isley Brothers still owning CBS several more albums, they are persuaded to stay and release the material as a new Isleys album. Issued as the first single from the bands eighteenth studio album “Go All The Way”, it becomes an immediate hit on R&B radio and a Quiet Storm mainstay. The song is also sampled by producer J. Dilla on the tracks “Bye” and “So Far To Go”. “Don’t Say Goodnight” (It’s Time For Love)“ propels the "Go All The Way” album to the top of the Billboard R&B album chart, number eight on the Top 200, and to Platinum status in the US.

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On this day in music history: April 19, 1969 -…

On this day in music history: April 19, 1969 – “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on May 3, 1969. Written by O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley and Rudolph Isley, it is the first chart topping single for the family group originally from Cincinnati, OH. After spending almost four years recording for Motown Records, the Isleys split from the company when they are offered a deal with New York based Buddah Records, that also includes reviving their label T-Neck Records. Once they sign with Buddah in early 1969, they quickly get to work recording their first album for the label. The brothers record at A&R Studios in New York City in January 1969 with a group of musicians that include Skip Pitts, Jr. (guitar), Herb Rooney (piano), George Moreland (drums) and their then sixteen year old brother Ernie Isley on bass. The basic track is perfected in only two takes. Released on February 16, 1969, the song is an immediate across the board smash, scaling the both the pop and R&B singles chart simultaneously. “It’s Your Thing” wins The Isley Brothers a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group in 1970. Their former label Motown claim the Isleys recorded the song while still under contract to them. The lawsuit drags on for nearly seven years when matter is finally settled out of court, in the Isleys favor. The song is one of The Isley Brothers’ most widely covered compositions, with various artists putting their own unique spin on it. Some of the artists include Ann Peebles, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Johnnie Taylor, The Moments, and Grant Green to name a few. Not long after The Isleys’ original version is a hit, James Brown protege Marva Whitney releases the answer record “It’s My Thing (You Can’t Tell Me Who To Sock It To)”, which becomes a Hip Hop sample staple. Jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson’s version also becomes heavily sampled by numerous rap artists including Brand Nubian, De La Soul, and Funkmaster Flex. “It’s Your Thing” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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