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Ronald Isley

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  • Formed: Cincinnati, OH
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
  • Group Members: Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley

Albums

Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

Group Members: Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley

All Music Guide:

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music -- over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, where they were encouraged to begin a singing career by their father, himself a professional vocalist, and their mother, a church pianist who provided musical accompaniment at their early performances. Initially a gospel quartet, the group was comprised of Ronald, Rudolph, O'Kelly, and Vernon Isley; after Vernon's 1955 death in a bicycling accident, tenor Ronald was tapped as the remaining trio's lead vocalist. In 1957, the brothers went to New York City to record a string of failed doo wop singles; while performing a spirited reading of the song "Lonely Teardrops" in Washington, D.C., two years later, they interjected the line "You know you make me want to shout," which inspired frenzied audience feedback. An RCA executive in the audience saw the concert, and when he signed the Isleys soon after, he instructed that their first single be constructed around their crowd-pleasing catch phrase; while the call-and-response classic "Shout" failed to reach the pop Top 40 on its initial release, it eventually became a frequently covered classic.

Still, success eluded the Isleys, and only after they left RCA in 1962 did they again have another hit, this time with their seminal cover of the Top Notes' "Twist and Shout." Like so many of the brothers' early R&B records, "Twist and Shout" earned greater commercial success when later rendered by a white group -- in this case, the Beatles; other acts who notched hits by closely following the Isleys' blueprint were the Yardbirds ("Respectable," also covered by the Outsiders), the Human Beinz ("Nobody but Me"), and Lulu ("Shout"). During a 1964 tour, they recruited a young guitarist named Jimmy James to play in their backing band; James -- who later shot to fame under his given name, Jimi Hendrix -- made his first recordings with the Isleys, including the single "Testify," issued on the brothers' own T-Neck label. They signed to the Motown subsidiary Tamla in 1965, where they joined forces with the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team. Their 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.

"This Old Heart of Mine" was their only hit on Motown, however, and when the song hit number three in Britain in 1967, the Isleys relocated to England in order to sustain their flagging career; after years of writing their own material, they felt straitjacketed by the Motown assembly-line production formula, and by the time they returned stateside in 1969, they had exited Tamla to resuscitate the T-Neck label. Their next release, the muscular and funky "It's Your Thing," hit number two on the U.S. charts in 1969, and became their most successful record. That year, the Isleys also welcomed a number of new members as younger brothers Ernie and Marvin, brother-in-law Chris Jasper, and family friend Everett Collins became the trio's new backing unit. Spearheaded by Ernie's hard-edged guitar leads, the group began incorporating more and more rock material into its repertoire as the 1970s dawned, and scored hits with covers of Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With," Eric Burdon & War's "Spill the Wine," and Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay."

In 1973, the Isleys scored a massive hit with their rock-funk fusion cover of their own earlier single "Who's That Lady," retitled "That Lady, Pt. 1"; the album 3 + 3 also proved highly successful, as did 1975's The Heat Is On, which spawned the smash "Fight the Power, Pt. 1." As the decade wore on, the group again altered its sound to fit into the booming disco market; while their success on pop radio ran dry, they frequently topped the R&B charts with singles like 1977's "The Pride," 1978's "Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 1," 1979's "I Wanna Be With You, Pt. 1," and 1980's "Don't Say Goodnight." While the Isleys' popularity continued into the 1980s, Ernie and Marvin, along with Chris Jasper, defected in 1984 to form their own group, Isley Jasper Isley; a year later, they topped the R&B charts with "Caravan of Love." On March 31, 1986, O'Kelly died of a heart attack; Rudolph soon left to join the ministry, but the group reunited in 1990.

Although the individual members continued with solo work and side projects, and also experienced misfortune along the way, the Isley Brothers forged on in one form or another throughout the '90s and into the 21st century. In 1996, now consisting of Ronald, Marvin, and Ernie, they released the album Mission to Please; however, Marvin developed diabetes and left the band the following year -- the disease later necessitated the amputation of both his legs. Ronald and Ernie hooked up for the release of 2001's Eternal, a brand-new selection of R&B cuts featuring collaborative efforts with Jill Scott, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Raphael Saadiq. On that particular release, Ronald also introduced the alter ego Mr. Biggs. Body Kiss was released in 2003, followed by Baby Makin' Music in 2006, the year after Ronald was convicted of tax evasion charges. Experiencing his own set of serious health issues, Ronald was sentenced to prison and served the latter portion of his sentence at a halfway house in St. Louis, MO before being released in April 2010. On June 6 of that year, Marvin died of complications from diabetes at the age of 56.

Wikipedia:

"Mr. Biggs" redirects here. For the Nigerian fast food chain, see Mr Bigg's.

Ronald Isley (/ˈ/; born May 21, 1941) is an American recording artist, songwriter, record producer, and occasional actor. Isley is better known as the lead singer and founding member of the family music group the Isley Brothers.

Early life[edit]

Isley was born the third of six brothers (O'Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley, Ronald, Vernon Isley, Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley) to Sallye Bernice (Bell) and O'Kelly Isley, Sr. Ronald, like many of his siblings, began his career in the church. He began singing at the age of three, winning a $25 war bond for singing at a spiritual contest at the Union Baptist Church. By the age of seven, Ronald was singing on-stage at venues such as the Regal Theater in Chicago, alongside Dinah Washington and a few other notables.

^ Isley Biography

Career[edit]

By his early teens, he was singing regularly with his brothers in church tours and also first appeared on TV on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. In 1957, sixteen-year-old Ronald and his two elder brothers O'Kelly, 19 and Rudy, 18, moved to New York, recording doo-wop for local labels before landing a major deal with RCA Records in 1959, where the trio wrote and released their anthemic "Shout." By the summer of 1959, the Isley family had moved from Cincinnati to a home in Englewood, New Jersey.

For much of the Isley Brothers' duration, Ron Isley would remain the group's consistent member of the group as well as the lead vocalist for most of the group's tenure with sporadic lead shares with his older brothers. In 1969, Ron and his brothers reformed T-Neck Records in a need to produce themselves without the control of record labels, forming the label shortly after ending a brief tenure with Motown. In 1973, the group's style and sound drastically changed following the release of the 3 + 3 album where brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley and in-law Chris Jasper permanently enter the brothers' lineup, writing the music and lyrics to the group's new sound. The younger brothers had been providing instrumental help for the brothers since the late 1960s. By the mid-1970s, Ronald was living in Teaneck, New Jersey.

After Kelly Isley's death in 1986 and Rudy Isley's exit to fulfill a dream of ministry in 1989, Ronald has carried on with the Isley Brothers name either as a solo artist or with accompanying help from the group's younger brothers, much more prominently, Ernie Isley. In 1990, Isley scored a top-ten duet with Rod Stewart with a cover of his brothers' hit "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," and in 2003 Ronald recorded a solo album, Here I Am: Bacharach Meets Isley, with Burt Bacharach. In addition, Ron Isley became a sought-after hook singer for R&B veteran R. Kelly, and hip-hop acts such as Warren G., 2Pac and UGK.

Ronald released his first solo album Mr. I on November 30, 2010. The album includes the first single "No More" It debuted at number 50 on the Billboard 200, selling 22,243 copies. It was his first solo album to crack that chart.

In 2010, Isley received a "Legend Award," surveying Isley Brother music written largely by the younger brothers, at the Soul Train Music Awards.

In 2013, Ronald released his second solo album This Song Is For You sign labels eOne. The album includes the first single "Dinner and A Movie". Second single, Premiere Song "My Favorite Thing" wrote, features and produced singer, Kem. Ronald received a nominees Independent R&B/Soul Artist Performance, at the Soul Train Music Awards.

In 2014. Ronald features a cameo music video with Kendrick Lamar

^ Wilner, Paul. "Isley Brothers: A Family Affair", The New York Times, March 13, 1977. Accessed September 18, 2011. "WHEN Sallye Isley moved her brood of children from Cincinnati to Englewood in the summer of 1959, she was participating in a show-business phenomenon.... While their older brothers toured America, the younger Isley boys enrolled successively in Englewood Junior High and Dwight Morrow High School.... Right now, the brothers reside near enough to each other to keep in close touch. Ronald lives in Teaneck, Kelly Jr. in Alpine, Rudolph in Haworth and Ernie in Englewood."^ "Ronald Isley, 'My Favorite Thing': Exclusive Song Premiere". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. July 12, 2013. ^ http://www.bet.com/shows/soul-train-awards/2013/nominees/best-independent-rnb-soul-performance.html

Personal life[edit]

In 1993, Isley married producer/composer/singer Angela Winbush in Los Angeles, California. They quietly divorced in early 2002. When Winbush received chemotherapy following her ovarian cancer diagnosis, Isley was by her side giving her his support in her recovery. He has older children with various women, including daughters Tawanna and Trenisha. In 2004, while in London, Isley suffered a mild stroke, which halted an Isley Brothers tour there. In September 2005, Isley made headlines when he married background singer Kandy Johnson (of the duo JS/Johnson Sisters), who is 35 years his junior. Their son, Ronald Isley, Jr. was born in January 2007. In 2007, it was reported Isley had kidney problems. He still lives in St. Louis.

Tax evasion[edit]

In 2006, Isley was convicted of tax evasion charges and sentenced to three years and one month in prison. Isley's sentence was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Isley was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terre Haute, Indiana, and was scheduled for release on April 13, 2010. He was moved to a half-way house in St. Louis, Missouri, following an early departure that October. After his sentence was completed, Isley was released from a federal half-way house on April 13, 2010.

Isley is listed as one of California's most delinquent taxpayers, with a $303,411.43 debt from a lien filed on October 22, 2002.

^ Winbush Isley Marry^ 63 Year Old Isley Marries 28 Year Old Johnson^ We're Having A Baby!^ 66 Year Old Ron Isley, His 25 Year Old Backup Singer Wife Kandi, 3 year old son Ron Jr.^ "Singer Ronald Isley gets 3 years in prison - TODAY.com". Today.com. September 12, 2006. Retrieved March 28, 2013. ^ "Singer Ronald Isley gets 3 years in prison". NBCNews.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013. ^ See United States v. Isley, 2008 Tax Notes Today (Tax Analysts) 29-13, No. 06-50509 (9th Cir. 2008).^ "Court Upholds Isley's Tax Evasion Sentence," Feb. 12, 2008, Billboard.com, at [1].^ See Federal Bureau of Prisons, prisoner number 31215-112, at [2].^ "Delinquent Taxpayers". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 

Guest appearances[edit]

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