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LHUM-100 Visiting Artist: Ernie Isley

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‘In 1969, the Isleys got a custom label deal with Epic Records. The It's Your Thing album included the million-selling title cut. Completing music studies at C.W. Post College in Long Island, NY, Ernie joined the Isley Brothers. He made his debut on their 3+3 LP issued in summer 1973. The album yielded "Who's That Lady" and a cover of Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze." That was the beginning of a string of hit albums that spanned 13 years.

‘In 1984, the group split and Jasper and the younger Isleys, Ernie and Marvin, formed the trio, Isley Jasper Isley. They got a custom deal with CBS Associated Labels with their first release, the self-produced Broadway's Next to Sunset Boulevard. It yielded the number 14 R&B hit "Look the Other Way." Other cuts became popular radio-aired LP tracks: the steppers tracks "Serve You Right" and "I Can't Get Over Losing You." The title track of their next LP, Caravan of Love, parked in the number one R&B spot for three weeks and garnered airplay on pop and gospel stations. The follow-up, "Insatiable Woman," another steppers favorite, also climbed the R&B charts. Ernie sang lead on the whimsical "If You Believe in Love." The final Isley/Jasper/Isley album was Different Drummer, which yielded two Top 20 R&B hits, "8th Wonder of the World" and "Givin' You Back the Love." A willowy ballad, "Blue Rose," with lead vocals by the guitarist, was a radio-aired LP track.

‘Soon afterwards, the group disbanded. Ernie recorded a 1990 Elektra LP, High Wire. In the late '90s, he reunited with Ronald Isley and they began touring as the Isley Brothers, performing a memorable outdoor concert televised on The Oprah Winfrey Show. They also scored a platinum-plus selling album with Mission to Please. Ernie also appeared on a self-titled album by R. Kelly.’ ~ from Ed Hogan, All Music Guide

Recommended Reading and Listening Assignments

"Who's That Lady?"

"Back to Square One"

"Summer Breeze"

See also: "Summer Breeze" youtube video

More Library Resources

Recommended Assessment

  • Write reflections on the visit with Ernie Isley.
  • Listen to Ernie Isley’s music and reflect upon it.