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Famous Like Me > Singer > I > Ronald Isley

Profile of Ronald Isley on Famous Like Me

Name: Ronald Isley  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 21st May 1941
Place of Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Ronald Isley (born on May 21, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American pop, rock, soul, and R&B singer and is known as the lead singer of the legendary family music group the Isley Brothers. He currently is enjoying a career resurgence that started in the mid-90s as an alter ego, Mr. Biggs, created by him and R. Kelly.

Born the third eldest of six brothers and two sisters, Ronald, like many of his siblings, began his career in the church. He began singing at the age of three winning a $25 war bond for singing at a spiritual contest at the Union Baptist Church and by the age of seven, Ronald was singing onstage at places like the Regal Theater from Chicago alongside Dinah Washington and few other notables. As a young adolescent, Ronald and his brothers Rudolph, O'Kelly and Vernon Isley formed the original lineup of what would be the Isley Brothers in 1954 when he was only 13. Beginning as a gospel quartet, they began singing alongside their father, Kelly (also a singer in his own right at the time) and their mother Sallye (the group's first pianist).

Ronald carried on as the leader of the Isleys after Vernon's tragic death in 1955. In 1957, the Isleys moved out of Cincinnati and headed to New York and began recording doo-wop material for several record labels. After several failed attempts, the brothers hit pay dirt after cultivating a song that had been created after the brothers' inspired performance of Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops" ("You know you make me wanna shout!") in a show at Washington, D.C. in 1959. After signing with RCA, the group released "Shout", a song that has since become a legendary rock and roll staple. After the group's next big hit, "Twist & Shout", in 1962, and a brief successful stint in Motown, the brothers formed the T-Neck record label (named after their New Jersey hometown) in 1968 and released the hugely-successful funk anthem, "It's Your Thing", which won the group their only Grammy.

Ronald could sing rock & roll as well as funk and soul. In fact, Ronald is considered one of the original belters and vocalists of the rock era. After years singing in gritty gospel-infused vocals, Ronald introduced R&B audiences to his piercing falsetto which led to some of the greatest love songs of all time including "For the Love of You", "Make Me Say It Again, Girl", "At Your Best (You Are Love)", "Footsteps in the Dark", "Voyage to Atlantis", "Choosey Lover" (which briefly featured his gritty side), "Between the Sheets" and "Don't Say Goodnight" among others. He still sung in his gritty growl and tenor in hits like "That Lady", "Live It Up", "Fight the Power" and "Take Me to the Next Phase".

One of the original members, he is the only one of the brothers to last the longest. His vocals has helped the Isleys become the longest-running charted group in music history. Few bands or artists could get away with having a hit in 1959 and still make hits in the new millennium as Isley has with the hits "Contagious" (a Top 20 smash in 2001) and the Hot 100 singles "What Would You Do" and "Busted" (released in 2003).

Since the 1990s, he has become a sought-after vocalist for hip-hop artists like Nas, Ja Rule and Jay-Z and in 1995, he began collaborating with one of his worshippers, R&B singer-songwriter R. Kelly who had a hit duet with Ronald and brother Ernie with "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)". In the video to the song, Kelly and Isley introduced youngsters to the Mr. Biggs character, which has since become a Ronald Isley trademark. In 1992, he was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as the charter member of The Isley Brothers. Most recently, in 2003, he recorded a solo album with producer Burt Bacharach on the album "Here I Am". He currently recovered from a stroke and a battle with the IRS and is scheduled to return on the road with brother Ernie as the Isley Brothers while working on a new record. His current hit is a duet with fellow soul legend Patti Labelle in the song, "Gotta Go Solo".

Isley recently made headlines when he married his background singer, Kandy Johnson, of the sister group, JS.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ronald Isley