The Isley Brothers have been providing soundtracks for our summers for more than 60 years. Maurice DuBois has their story:
It’s a safe guess that, whatever your age, the Isley Brothers are the soundtrack of your life.
Remember when you first heard this one, “Who’s That Lady”?
Remember when you first heard “Shout”?
Ron Isley remembers everything: “Audiences would go CRAZY! They would go crazy, and we would go crazy with ’em!”
And where were you when you first heard the sublimely sexy “Between the Sheets”?
DuBois asked, “How many babies are walking around because of that song?”
“Generations!” laughed Ron Isley.
Generations have kept the Isley Brothers on top of the charts for six decades and counting.
“It’s something that we worked on for all those years, you know, to want to be number one, to want to be on top!” said Ron. “So that’s been very important to us.”
“That voice, it’s still perfect. It’s beautiful,” said DuBois.
“It’s from God, man,” Ron said. “A lot of time I can tell when I want to hit a note and say ‘Whah? Wow, that was easier five years ago!'”
Seventy-six-year-old Ron Isley started performing at the age of two. Churches came first. But their mom warned them that to survive in the business, they needed to do it all — sing everything from gospel to R&B to country-western to pop.
Isleys have come and gone … Ron and brother Ernie are now the two remaining group members.
At home with Ron in St. Louis, the stories ricochet around the room. Take the time they asked an “unknown” guitar player named Jimi Hendrix to join the band.
Ernie, who was 11 years old at the time, recalled: “Never heard anybody play guitar like that.”
Hendrix played, and lived, with them for two years.
How about the story of “Twist and Shout,” which they released in 1962?
One year later, it became a huge hit for the Beatles.
Ernie Isley says he ran into Paul McCartney a few years ago: “I said something like, ‘Paul, you…