In the month that the O’JAYS release what will be there final album (ever!), it’s been announced that original member BILL ISLES has died. Isles was 78 and died at his home in Oceanside, California. Cause of death was given as cancer.
Born in North Carolina, but brought up in Clanton, Ohio, Bill formed the Mascots group in 1958 with some of his school friends…Eddie Levert , Walter Williams, William Powell and Bobby Massey. In 1960 they became the Triumphs and recorded the single ‘Miracles’. In 1963 at the suggestion of top Cleveland DJ Eddie O’Jay, they became the O’Jays… and the rest… history!
Isles was featured on the hits ‘Lonely Drifter’ and ‘Lipstick Traces’ but he left the band in 1965. He stayed friends with them though and from 1971 – 74 he was their tour manager. Isles eventually set up a vitamin manufacturing and food supplement company before retiring in 2000. Throughout, he was a member of the Oceanside New Venture Christian Fellowship choir at his local church
Bill Isles is survived by his wife Laural, his sons, Duane, Donnell, Billy III and Terry Isles; his daughters, Denise Isles-Taylor, Rheutitia “Tish” Isles and Laural Gadison; his brother, Ron Isles; sisters Catherine Ann Burt, Johnnie Mae Everett and Octavia Joyce Isles; and by seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.