When their father, O'Kelly Sr., met their mother, Sallye, he told her he would marry her and she would bear 4 sons who would become a famous singing group. They ended up having 6 sons.
Their father, O'Kelly Sr., predicted that his sons would hit it big but he would not be around to see it. He fulfilled his prophesy by dying of a heart attack in 1956.
They developed their sound and stage presence by singing in church.
The 4th Isley son, Vernon, died at 11 when he lost control of his bicycle and slammed into an oncoming truck. The other brothers were devastated and did not work on their music for a year.
They formed their own record label, T-neck (named after Teaneck, New Jersey, where they lived), in 1964, but put it aside to sign with Motown a year later. They left Motown after only a year and reformed the T-neck label in 1969.
Younger brothers Ernie and Marvin joined in 1969 along with their cousin, Chris Jasper. They became the rhythm section for the older Isleys.
In 1984, Ernie, Marvin, and Chris Jasper left to form Isley, Jasper, Isley.
Kelly Isley died of heart failure in 1986.
Ronald, who sings in a tenor, is lead singer.
Everett Collins, Drums and Percussion joined the band after he met Ernie, Chris and Marvin in music composition and band classes at college. He had his own band Sunrize in 1981-1983 which was produced by the Isley Brothers. (thanks, Ed - riverhead, NY)
21 year-old Jimi Hendrix, known then as Jimmy Hendricks, played on their stage shows in 1964.
Youngest brother Marvin lost his legs below the knees to diabetes in 1996.
They won a lawsuit from Michael Bolton in 1994 when his "Love Is A Wonderful Thing" was ruled too similar to the Isley's song of the same title. The Isley's were awarded all profits from the single and 28% of album profits.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Isleys became the first band to score a Top 50 hit in six consecutive decades on Billboard's Hot 100 when "Contagious
" climbed to #19 in 2001.