- 13 Oct 23
The musician, who also co-wrote many of the band's biggest songs, died in his sleep, his brother Ernie said.
Rudolph Isley was one of the co-founding members of the Isley Brothers. The musician has died at the age of 84.
He sang with his brothers in the iconic R&B band from the 1950s until his departure in the late 1980s to become a Christian minister after the death of his brother, O'Kelly.
The news was confirmed by an attorney for Isley, Brian D. to Pitchfork and shared the following statement from the musician’s daughter:
"Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the world-famous Isley Brothers, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of October 11, 2023. He died at his home, with his devoted wife Elaine by his side. They had been married for 68 years. Rudolph was a deeply religious man who loved Jesus."
He got his start singing in a gospel choir in church with his brothers, Ronald and O'Kelly, and they later found their success in the 1950s with their hit song 'Shout.'
"We turned a song with a gospel feel into an R&B hit, and the groups began writing [to] disc jockeys asking them to stop playing our record," Ronald told the Wall Street Journal in 2015.
They stopped performing for a period of time in 1955 after their brother Vernon, who sang lead vocals, was killed while riding his bicycle. He was just 13 years old.
In the 1960s they released the iconic 'Twist and Shout' that was picked up by The Beatles for their final song on their debut album.
Over their career, the band got to work with major stars including Jimi Hendrix, who briefly played in their backing band, and Elton John.
Rudolph Isley joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2022, and he and his bandmates were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.