Isley Brothers

3The Isley Brothers have basked in the forefront of popular music for nearly 50 years. Their incredible career has seen dozens of #1 hits, both singles, and albums; more than two dozen gold, platinum and multi-platinum singles and albums; countless awards; and the Brothers’ induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (in 1992). What’s even more remarkable –and further indication of the Isleys’ lasting cultural significance –is how they’ve reinvented themselves with each passing year, thus consistently reaping a fresh crop of fans. They are a bridge between today’s most vital pop artists and the soul greats who brought the music out of the church and into mass consciousness. Acknowledging their place in history, Ronald Isley says: “I knew Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson and The Temptations. I knew their intimate thoughts on music, and I knew them as friends. The Isley Brothers are in a unique place now because we possess that repository of knowledge, and we carry it on through our new material. Ernie and I understand what a tremendous opportunity and responsibility that is, how special that is. The Lord has truly blessed us, and we continue to be led to a greater place.”Through this calling, the Isleys have influenced myriad artists. Contemporary R&B and hip-hop stars have frequently paid them tribute by sampling and covering their material. “We’re beyond old school,” Ernie jokes. “We’ve become an institution –I think we must be at the university level by now! The Beatles, Aaliyah, Biggie Smalls, Ice Cube, Whitney Houston, Public Enemy, Bone Thugs and all the other people who’ve mined our catalog –they’ve come through Isley University. And we, in turn, embrace everyone who has recognized our work and honored us this way.”