US media sources are reporting an upcoming, major spat within the ISLEY family. You don’t need us to say how important and influential the Isley Brothers have been (indeed still are) in the annals of not just soul but popular music generally. They just are.
The original trio – Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly made too many classics to list here; then with the addition of Ernie and Marvin Isley and brother in law Chris Japer, the band went on to reach even greater heights! That classic 6 piece line up splintered in the mid 1980s and the death of O’Kelly in 1986 and the move to the Christian ministry from Rudolph, left Ronald and Ernie carrying on as “the Isley Brothers”.
Now, here’s where it gets complicated. Rudolph, now aged 84, is suing brother Ronald (he’s 82) in a dispute over the rights to the Isley Brothers name. Rudolph, it seems, is saying that Ron had no right to use the name and is now demanding compensation. The case began in March and the judge has urged the ageing siblings to reach an out of court agreement but it seems no one is ready to back down; Ron says that his brother hasn’t been part of the group since 1986 but Rudolph says he’s still an Isley Brother and wants a share of royalties sand income that the post 1986 group has earned!
It looks like this one will run and run with the only winners being the lawyers – what’s new! What a sad end to a wonderful band – and how undignified to see two old men (united by blood) slugging it out in the glare of modern reporting! Let’s remember them in their soulful prime (above!).