Some might disagree but as far as
I'm concerned the Isley Brothers
were right in the pocket and laying
down their best sounds early in
their career, up to and including
their mid 60s stint at Tamla Motown.
Two excellent singles that the Isley Brothers released on
the Tamla subsidiary landed in the top 20 on my list of the
200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell.
"This Old Heart of Mine" - Isley Brothers (March 1966)
“This Old Heart of Mine,” a swingin' dance number by the Isleys which fell just short of the top 10 on Billboard, lit a fire under the Dell crowd in February of 1966 and stayed hot till summer. The floor was jammed whenever this Motown memory maker started playing!
I vividly recall one of the Dell regulars, a young guy around fifteen years of age. He was the best male dancer in the place and his older sister was the best female dancer. Everybody watched in awe and envy as that brother and sister team danced together to “This Old Heart of Mine” and other up-tempo sounds. That young dude had such a great smile and so much energy, confidence and charisma that, more often than not, he had two girls dancing with him at the same time. Hey, save some for the rest of us!
That brother & sister dance team –
What were their names?
Where are they now?
"Take Some Time Out For Love" - Isley Brothers (June 1966)
“This Old Heart of Mine” was still going strong in June when the Brothers Isley launched phase two of their Dell assault, setting summer nights ablaze with the scintillating dance
record “Take Some Time Out for Love.” I liked “This Old Heart of Mine,” but I found “Take Some Time Out for Love” even more exciting. That's why I ranked it higher on my Dell’s Greatest Hits list. Shady’s Law certainly applies to “Take Some Time Out for Love” because the song’s lackluster performance on Billboard (lasting only 4 weeks and halting at #66) is a mystery and a travesty. "Take Some Time Out" is one of the most electrifying northern dancers ever produced!
Many rats tried and many rats failed...
It was simply impossible to stay in your
seat when the Brothers Isley began to wail!
These two Isley smashes were part of an extraordinary run of Dell classics that exploded onto the scene during the first half of 1966. It was the time span that yielded the greatest and highest ranking Dell hits on my 22-month survey.
* 7 of the top 10 Dell songs were released
during the first six months of 1966...
* 14 out of the top 20...
* 28 out of the top 50.
A key point that
I would like to make
is that the music of
1966 and earlier was
than the music of
1967 and later.
As this official Pac Man pie chart illustrates...
...75% of the
songs in the Dell
Top 100 were
released in 1966
"That's the Way Love Is" - Isley Brothers (August 1967)
While it is my contention that the greatest music was produced before 1967, there were of course many fine recordings produced in 1967 and after, including a few seldom heard gems by the Isley Brothers.
In 1969 Marvin Gaye took his version into the top 10 but
in 1967 the Isleys' fine rendition of the H-D-H stormer
"That's the Way Love Is" only bubbled under at #125.
"Don't Give it Away" -Isley Brothers (April 1969)
What could be hipper than "It's Your Thing"? "It's Your Bling"? "Who's That Shady"? No! It's "Don't Give it Away," the killer bee side of the Isleys' first release on the T Neck label. This number was hot on Hy Lit and went for countless spins on my turntable! Note: this clip is audio only.
"I Turned You On" - Isley Brothers (July 1969)
In June and July of 1969 the Isleys followed up their T Neck smash "It's Your Thing"/"Don't Give it Away" with another two-fer, "I Turned You On"/"I Know Who You Been Socking
it To." The A side grazed the top 20 on the pop chart and reached #6 R&B.
Sock it to me!
Whip it to me!
Give it to me!
"I Know Who You Been Socking it To" - Isley Brothers
The killer bee side was almost as popular and enjoyed significant radio and TV exposure.
"Work to Do" - Isley Brothers (December 1972)
One of my favorite early 70s recordings by the Isleys is "Work to Do" which climbed half way up the pop chart, just missed the top 10 on the black singles chart, and was a biggie with the gang on Soul Train.
Stick around! In Part 2 of my tribute to the Isley Brothers we'll go digging for old gold and check out their earliest and rarest recordings. See you soon!
Have a Shady day!