“Between The Sheets,” “Make Me Say It Again Girl,” “It’s Your Thing” and “That Lady”… If you don’t know the group behind these songs, you might need to turn in your old school card.
The Isley Brothers have delivered great music for over half a century. Hitting the scene in the early 1950’s, the Isley’s scored their first hit in 1959 with “Shout,” a song that still resonates today not only with music fans, but also in commercials and it was immortalized as a frat party jam in the movie “National Lampoons Animal House.”
The Isley’s enjoyed success again in the 60’s with their cover of the song “Twist and Shout,” and then formed their own label in 1964, T-Neck Records. From that point on, they built of legacy of songs that made them a household name with fans across the globe and brought us the smooth R&B ballads and gritty Funk tunes that we old schoolers know and love. How could they go wrong with the lead vocals of Ronald Isley along with Ernie Isley’s incredible guitar work? (Side note for guitar lovers, go to a used CD store and cop Ernie’s “High Wire.”) Their music has also been the foundation of close to one-hundred fifty pop, R&B and hip hop tunes, sampled by artists like Ice-T (remember, he was an rapper before he started acting), Lil Wayne, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Fantasia, Gwen Stefani, Salt-N-Pepa and of course The Notorious B.I.G. who hit us with “Big Poppa” back in the ‘90’s.
The Isley’s were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and they’ve received numerous Grammy, American Music and most notably the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards. With Ronald Isley taking on his “Mr. Biggs” persona and the band’s collaborations with artists and producers like Angela Winbush and R Kelly, they’ve been able to continue to redefine their sound to continue to appeal to a new generation of music lovers. But it will always be those old school jams that, from the first note, make us say “that’s my song!”
What are some of your most cherished Soul Train memories?
— Montrose Cunningham
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Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter; sometimes both at the same time. Visit him online at www.MontroseMusic.com and on Facebook.