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Rudolph Isley, Isley Brothers Co-Founder, Dies At 84

Musician performed on such classics as "Twist and Shout," "This Old Heart of Mine" and "It's Your Thing"
Rudolph Isley (far right) performs with The Isley Brothers on "Soul Train" on Sept. 30, 1972 (photo: Soul Train via Getty Images).

Isley Brothers co-founder Rudolph Isley had died at the age of 84, according to multiple reports. Isley passed away yesterday (Oct. 11) in Illinois; a cause of death has yet to be announced.

Rudolph formed the iconic, Cincinnati-reared R&B group with his brothers Ronald and O’Kelly as teenagers in the mid-1950s and performed with them until 1989, when he left to become a pastor. During his tenure, the Isley Brothers scored huge hits such as “Shout,” “Twist & Shout” (later made even more famous by the Beatles), “It’s Your Thing,” and “This Old Heart of Mine.”

Rudolph Isley often wore fur clothing and walked with a cane, adding to the group’s flair for the dramatic. His lead vocals included the 1979 hit “It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)” and “You Still Feel the Need,” and hse shared vocals with his brothers on songs such as “Livin’ in the Life” and “Fight the Power.” He was inducted with the group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

With Ronald, 82, steering the ship, the Isleys have continued to find success well into the modern era, releasing music with Beyoncé and appearing at events such as Anderson .Paak’s .Paak House benefit concert. However, Rudolph sued Ronald earlier this year, claiming he’d violated a previous agreement to split profits following O’Kelly Isley’s death in 1986.