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Rudolph Isley, Iconic Member of The Isley Brothers, Dead at 84

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Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the iconic trio The Isley Brothers, died on Wednesday (Oct. 11). He was 84 years old.

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The cause of death is currently unknown, but his brother Ronald confirmed the news in a statement to Billboard: “There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”

After years of singing gospel in the church, Rudolph formed The Isley Brothers with his siblings Ronnie, O’Kelly and Vernon in 1954 when he was just a teenager. A year later, the group temporarily disbanded after 13-year-old Vernon was killed after getting hit by a car.

In 1957, the group rebanded with Ronnie as the lead vocalist, and the trio left their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, for New York City. There, they recorded their first tracks including “Angels Cried” and “The Cow Jumped Over the Moon,” and signed a deal with RCA Records in 1959. They release their first album, Shout!, that same year. The trio added their younger brothers Ernie and Marvin and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper into the band in 1971.

Rudolph left The Isley Brothers in 1989 to pursue becoming a Christian minister. However, he has often reunited with his brothers over the years, including when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, an honor that was presented to them by Little Richard.

On the Billboard charts, The Isley Brothers have had two albums top the all-genre Billboard 200 chart: The Heat Is On in 1975 and Body Kiss in 2003. Over on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the group has six No. 1 hits, including “Fight the Power Part 1,” “Take Me to the Next Phase,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Don’t Say Goodnight,” “The Pride (Part 1)” and “It’s Your Thing.”

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