Carter Classic Spotlight is a short, yet appreciative post that highlights some fo the world’s greatest R&B artists. These artists have developed and vulnerably put out some of the best musical catalogs that have the ability to stand the test of time. The Carter Classic Spotlights are dedicated to presenting and preserving the history of the most soulful music ever introduced. This week’s feature goes out to none other than the incomparable group, The Isley Brothers.
When I think of The Isley Brothers, I automatically consider them to be one of the baddest (and I mean do mean baddest!) groups of all time. This is particularly true in my eyes for the past half-century. The group has been — and still is — the epitome of true R&B.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, The Isley Brothers began as a soulful trio in 1954 comprised of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley. Delivering their debut album “Shout” in 1959, which also featured the breakout single by the same name, the group began making their mark on the industry and the world.
It’s no secret that The Isley Brothers have some of most sexiest love songs ever written, sang and produced. Songs that still get you in the mood or — if you’ve never heard them before — make you fall in love for the first time. Songs like “Lay Lady Lay” (1971), “Summer Breeze” (1973), “For the Love of You” (1975), “Sensuality” (1975), “Footsteps In The Dark” (1977), “Make Me Say It Again Girl” (1975), “Between The Sheets” (1983) and “At Your Best” (1976) — which was covered by songstress Aaliyah in 1994 — are all standout tracks by the group that solidify their position as leaders of the R&B and Soul genres.
Although The Isley Brothers are mostly known for the above hits and more that came later down the line such as “Tears” (1996) and 2001’s breakthrough single “Contagious,” the band of members — which fluctuated in numbers throughout the years — also produced many songs. This included their top 10 track, “Harvest for the World” that delivered lyrics that ask the question, “when will there be a Harvest for the World?” And the question still remains.
Over there more than 60 year career span, the group’s songs have been sampled and covered by many artist in various genres such as R&B, Neo-Soul, Jazz, Rap, Classical, Rock, Punk Rock, and New Wave. The list includes The Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Wayne, Ice Cube, 2Pac, Jody Breeze, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, UGK, Aaliyah, August Alsina and way too many more to count.
Simply put, The Isley Brothers are the definition of what R&B music is all about and they deserve more appreciation than given.
For comments, suggestions or to have your favorite Classic R&B artists featured, email Carter@thisisrnb.com