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Rudolph Isley, founding member of The Isley Brothers, dies at 84

 L-R: O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley/GAB Archive/Redferns

Rudolph Isley, a founding member of The Isley Brothers, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 84.

Rudolph’s daughter Elaine confirmed the news to People, revealing he “died peacefully in his sleep” with his wife of 68 years, also named Elaine, by his side.

Rudolph’s brother and bandmate Ronald shared his feelings about the loss with the mag, saying, “There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him. But I know he’s in a better place.”

Rudolph founded The Isley Brothers in the ’50s with brothers O’Kelly, Ronald and Vernon, although Vernon passed away a few years after their formation. They had their first hit in 1959 with “Shout,” which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Other songs made famous by The Isley Brothers include “Twist and Shout” and “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Week For You)” along with “It’s Your Thing,” which earned them a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. 

Rudolph, who was known for wearing hats and fur-attired clothing, retired from the group in 1989. He and his brothers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. 

Earlier this year, Rudolph filed a lawsuit against Ronald over the trademark rights to the group’s name, claiming that despite the name being jointly owned by both of them, Ronald alone filed for a federal trademark of the name in 2021, and it was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

He sought to have a judge declare that the trademark rights to the name were equally and jointly owned by both brothers, and he wanted any revenue Ronald made from exploiting the trademark to be divided.

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