Cincinnati, 1950s -
The Isley Brothers are one of the legendary music family groups that helped create soul and funk music. Few people recall that they started in their home town on Cincinnati, as a R&B vocal group.
The group originally included O'Kelly, Rudolph, Ronald, and Vernon. The group, like their contemporaries, sang on local streetcorners and performed in local clubs. They apparenrly never recorded anything, not even for King records. Vernon, who had been the lead singer, was killed in a car accident, and after some time the trio decided to carry on.
Around 1957 they moved from Cincinnati to New York to try and break in the business. They made a few 45s on small NY labels before recording 'Shout", their breakout hit.
In the 1960s they relocated to Teaneck, NJ, and started their own label, T-Neck, after having modest hits for Wand amd Motown. Interestingly, one the biggest songs they are associated with, "Twist and Shout", was not originated by them but recorded first by another local R&B group, the Topnotes. The Isleys' remake is the definitive version,though, along with the even more famous recording by the Beatles.
Around the turn of the decade their rock influenced funk sound brought them their biggest sucesses. They added younger brothers Marvin and Ernie, and brother in law Chris Jasper. They are still performing today with only Ronald as the lone original member, and Ernie. O'Kelly and Marvin Isley are deceased, and Rudolph retired in 1990.