10/12/23-Rudolph Isley Died

todayOctober 12, 2023


Isley Brothers

Rudolph Isley, founding member of The Isley Brothers and ‘Shout’ songwriter, dies at 84

Edward Segarra
Singer-songwriter Rudolph Isley, one of the founding members of the R&B group The Isley Brothers, has died. He was 84.

Rudolph died on Wednesday, a representative for The Isley Brothers confirmed to USA TODAY in an email Thursday. A cause of death was not disclosed. TMZ was the first to report the news.

“There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother,” Rudolph’s brother Ronald said in a statement. “Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”

Comprised of brothers Rudolph, Marvin, O’Kelly, Ronald and Ernie Isley and rounded out with musician Chris Jasper, the Isleys formed in Cincinnati in 1954 when Rudolph, O’Kelly, Ronald and brother Vernon Isley started singing in church. The group disbanded in 1955 after 13-year-old Vernon was struck and killed by a car as he was riding his bike in his neighborhood.

In 1957, with their parents’ blessing, the remaining brothers decided to regroup and move to New York, with Ronald assuming lead vocals. The group would go on to sign with major label RCA Records for their 1959 debut album.

Rudolph was one of the group’s primary songwriters and co-wrote the Brothers’ breakthrough “Shout,” released in 1959. After being immortalized in the 1978 comedy “Animal House,” the song has been used as a rallying cry at sporting events ever since.

The group, which added brothers Marvin and Ernie and brother-in-law Jasper to the lineup in 1973, went on to enjoy other hits with songs such as “Twist and Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “That Lady” and “Fight The Power,” with the latter three co-written by Isley.

When their song “Contagious” climbed the charts in 2001, it gave them the distinction of being the act with the longest chart span on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart at 42 years.

Rudolph left the band in the late ’80s after their album “Spend the Night,” released in October 1989, was recorded. He went on to pursue a career in Christian ministry, according to Isley’s profile on the Songwriters Hall of Fame official website.

Written by: Barry Scott