Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Rudolph Isley, A Founding Member of The Isley Brothers, Dead at 84

Rudolph Isley, A Founding Member of The Isley Brothers, Dead at 84

Rudolph Isley, who is best known as a founding member of The Isley Brothers, has reportedly passed away. He was 84 years old. 

In a statement provided to Fox News Digital, Rudolph’s brother, Ronald, confirmed the unfortunate news. “There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother,” Ronald wrote in the statement. “Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”

Rudolph Isley’s brother did not disclose the cause of death.  However, Rudolph’s daughter Elaine shared that he died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning in his home in Illinois. “He died at his home with his devoted wife Elaine by his side,” his daughter confirmed to People. “They had been married for 68 years. Rudolph was a deeply religious man who loved Jesus.” 

Both Rudolph and Ronald performed alongside their brothers Vernon and O’Kelly Isley in the group. Vernon passed away when he was 13 after he was hit by a car while riding his bike. The R&B band produced well-known classic hits, including Shout!, Twist and Shout, Footsteps in the Dark, and This Old Heart of Mine.

The group eventually expanded with the bandmates’ younger siblings, Ernie and Marvin, joining with their brother-in-law, Chris Jasper. In 1992, the band was inducted into the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame. The band also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. 

Tragically, along with Vernon and Rudolph, O’Kelly also passed away in the late ’80s following a heart attack and Marvin died in 2010 from diabetes complications.

The Isley Brothers Bandmates Once Said Their Music Is More Than Just ‘Shout!’ 

During a 2015 interview with The Guardian, The Isley Brothers bandmates Ernie, Chris, and Marvin spoke about how the iconic funk group is more than just their popular hit song Shout!

“Our music is about so much more now,” Ernie said at the time. “We’ve got a lot more to say musically and lyrically. I-IV-V chord changes and three guys jumping up and down, screaming and shouting ‘wooo’ just isn’t where we’re at.”

Chris then said the band wants its music to expand people’s consciousness and take them onto a “different musical plane.”  When asked what the band was planning on doing to accomplish its key goal, Ernie had some thoughts. “A lot of artists are in the business to get out. But we’re about music, that’s what’s important to us. We’re building a studio near Westchester in New York and in two years or so we hope to begin working with other artists.”

Ernie also said every album is different for the band and the bandmates approach each of the albums without a thought to what they had done in the past. “Just because we have a platinum album, that’s no reason to retire or become satisfied. Obviously, money isn’t a motivating factor.”

Ernie went on to add that bandmates are artists and they use music to express themselves. “With all of us putting in our two cents, whatever we do will be creative. The Isley Brothers will never stand still.”