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Vernon Isley: The Unsung Hero of The Isley Brothers

Vernon Isley was a singer and one of the original members of the iconic R&B group The Isley Brothers. While his time with the group was tragically cut short, his contributions to their early sound and success should not be overlooked.

Early Life

Vernon Isley was born on March 24, 1942, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His older brothers, Ronald, Rudolph, and O’Kelly, Jr., were also musically inclined, and the four brothers began singing together as children.

In 1954, the brothers formed a gospel quartet called the Isley Brothers. Vernon was the group’s lead singer, and his soulful voice quickly caught the attention of audiences.

Career with The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers quickly became a popular act in the Cincinnati area. They toured extensively throughout the region, performing at churches and other venues.

In 1955, the group was invited to perform on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, a national television talent show. They won the competition, which helped to boost their popularity even further.

With Vernon as their lead singer, The Isley Brothers began to experiment with different styles of music. They eventually transitioned from gospel to doo-wop, and then to R&B.

In 1957, the group signed with RCA Records. They released their debut album, Shout!, later that year. The album was a commercial success, and it helped to establish The Isley Brothers as one of the premier R&B groups of the era.

Tragic Death

Vernon Isley’s promising career was tragically cut short on October 2, 1955. He was just 13 years old when he was killed in a bicycle accident.

The death of Vernon Isley was a devastating blow to The Isley Brothers. The group disbanded briefly, but eventually decided to continue without him.

Vernon Isley’s Legacy

While Vernon Isley’s time with The Isley Brothers was short, his contributions to the group were significant. His soulful voice was a key part of their early sound, and he helped to lay the foundation for their future success.

Vernon Isley is remembered as a talented singer and a beloved member of The Isley Brothers. His tragic death robbed the world of a promising young star, but his music continues to inspire and entertain fans around the world.


Vernon Isley was a talented singer and an important part of The Isley Brothers’ early history. His death was a tragedy, but his music lives on.

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