Rudolph Isley, known for his smooth vocals on hits like “Summer Breeze” “Shout”, “Fight the Power” and “That Lady” died in his sleep at his home in Chicago.
“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place,” Ronald Isley, Rudolph’s brother and Isley Brother band co-founder, told CNN in a statement on Thursday.
The Isley Brothers band was formed in the mid-1950s. At the time, the teenage Rudolph Isley, originally of Cincinnati, began singing in church with his brothers Ronald, O’Kelly, and younger brother Vernon. Vernon sadly died at the age of 13 in a traffic accident before the brothers went on to release their first major hit, “Shout!” in 1959. Later members included brothers Marvin and Ernie and brother-in-law Chris Jasper.
The band’s transformation was highlighted by Rudolph’s flamboyant stage presence and unforgettable outfits. Despite some internal complexities within the family band, the Isley Brothers continued to make music history.
Rudolph’s legacy extends beyond music, as he pursued his long-held ambition to become a Christian minister in 1989. He however reunited with the group in 1992 when The Isley Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2021, two New Jersey districts renamed streets in honor of the Isley Brothers, in the neighboring towns of Teaneck and Englewood, outside New York City where they lived during the band’s heyday in the 1960s.
More recently, Rudolph and his brother Ronald had been engaged in legal proceedings regarding the Isley Brothers’ trademark dispute over who owns the band’s name.
With Rudolph’s passing, Ronald and Ernie are now the last remaining brothers from the band.