Rudolph Isley, founding member of iconic group The Isley Brothers, dead at 84

Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the influential family music group The Isley Brothers, has died at 84.

As a longtime member of the group, Rudolph lent backup vocals to iconic songs like “Shout,” “It’s Your Thing” and “This Old Heart of Mine.”

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

The news was first reported by TMZ. A cause of death was not given, though one source told the outlet he suffered a heart attack.

Born April 1, 1939 in Cincinnati, Rudolph began singing at church at a young age and as a teen joined his siblings to form The Isley Brothers. The brothers moved to New York in 1957 and secured a deal with RCA Records in 1959.

UNITED STATES – CIRCA 1962: 1962, New York, New York city, Isley Brothers, L-R: OKelly Isley, Jr., Ronald, Isley, Rudolph Isley. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The Isley Brothers wrote and recorded one of their biggest hits, “Shout.” Known for its energetic call-and-response lyrics, it has remained a classic song for decades and is still a staple at parties and weddings. Multiple artists have covered “Shout,” and it was also immortalized in the comedy film Animal House.

It kicked off a musical career that spanned decades and genres. Classic Isley Brothers tunes include their cover of “Twist and Shout,” the motown classic “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You),” and the Grammy-winning funk song “It’s Your Thing.”

Rudolph Isley rarely sang lead vocals, but contributed to the act’s success with songwriting and backup vocals. The group had 13 gold- and platinum-selling albums throughout their career.

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In 1989, Rudolph decided to retire from the band to become a Christian minister, although he would occasionally reunite with his brothers, including their 1992 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

However, there was also some drama within the family, as Rudolph sued his brother Ronald in March over a dispute about the legal rights to the band name.

After Rudolph’s death, the last surviving Isley Brothers are Ronald and Ernie. Rudolph is also survived by his wife Elaine and their four children.

“He died at his home with his devoted wife Elaine by his side. They had been married for 68 years,” his daughter said in a statement to People. “Rudolph was a deeply religious man who loved Jesus.”

Rudolph and Ronald Isley (brothers) during “Isley Meets Bacharach” Record Release Party and Concert at The Supper Club in New York, NY, United States. (Photo by RJ Capak/WireImage)

Rest in peace to the great Rudolph Isley, a voice and songwriter of one of the best soul and R&B groups of all time. We’ll be dancing to “Shout” in your honor.

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