Artist Details

Ronald Isley

The longtime lead vocalist for the Isley Brothers, Ronald Isley helmed the influential family group for over half a century, a period spanning not only multiple generations of siblings but also massive cultural shifts that heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. Born in Cincinnati, OH, on May 21, 1941, as a preteen Ronald joined siblings Rudolph, O'Kelly, and Vernon to form the earliest incarnation of the group. After Vernon's 1955 death in a bicycling accident, Ronald was tapped as the remaining trio's lead vocalist. Early singles stiffed, but "Shout" -- their 1959 debut for RCA -- sold a million copies, despite failing to crack the Top 40. Only after the Isleys left RCA for the Wand label did they have another hit, this time with their seminal 1962 cover of the Top Notes' "Twist and Shout." After recording for their own T-Neck label, they signed to the Motown subsidiary Tamla in 1965, joining forces with the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team. The Isleys' first single, the shimmering "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," was their finest moment yet and barely missed the pop Top Ten.