Ok, people may say that about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and even the Bee Gees at one point, but for me, these smooth and funky brothers: Rudolph, O'Kelly, Ronald, Marvin, Ernie & Chris Jasper...
Now THEY can surely be argued as THE Greatest Rock & Roll/Soul/Funk Band/Group of all time. And it's not just for the fact that they've been here for more than 40 years. Maybe it has to do with them breaking down doors for other acts and becoming some rap artist's sample for a hit song. Also, for those who think the Beatles are the greatest may didn't know that these guys actually INSPIRED them to become hit makers. While the Isley version of "Twist & Shout" in 1962 became one of the biggest R&B hits of the '60s, the Beatles' rendition of the Isley's version took the group to #1 on the charts when they broke through in 1963.
Maybe it's because they bridged between the Beatles in the '60s and Biggie in the '90s that proves that they are GREAT! Maybe that's it! See, unlike many groups that came before and after them, they've been getting the most treatment besides James Brown getting their songs become big hits again thanks to hip-hop acts. Even Public Enemy took a cue from the guys from Teaneck, New Jersey when they took their battle cry: "We got to fight the powers that can be" to make their song from the Do the Right Thing soundtrack their seminal record, ironically titled "Fight the Power". The original version, recorded in 1975, is as funky today as it was all those years ago.
"It's Your Thing" was a REVOLUTION within itself. As the brothers, who years before had discovered a wild youngster named Jimi Hendrix, bridged the sonics of gospel, pop, soul, R&B, and dance together and to this day is heralded as one of the births of funk music. While "That Lady" pushed the group into even ROCK territory and helped them gain more than a cultural following. Ernie's guitar work is just killer! But as much as they were rock and as much they are gospel/funk and soul, it's the emotional and soulful slow jams that helped make the group different from those who were known for slow jams as well as funk workouts.
Probably some of the greatest slow jams developed on one disc:
"Groove With U"
"4 The Love Of U"
"Footsteps In The Dark"
"Between the Sheets"
"Don't Say Good Night (It's Time For Love)"
"Caravan of Love" (by Isley/Jasper/Isley)
In the funk cuts, Ronald's voice was raucous, raw and gritty. Somewhere in his room, Michael Jackson was listening closely to Ron's gritty voice and that's mainly the reason why we've been hearing him grunt and growl on some of his dance cuts. So even if he doesn't mention them, he knows that if it wasn't for "Mr. Biggs", Michael probably wouldn't have had the courage to sing like that. Given props where it's due.
This is the best compilation if you want the magic of 3+3 instead of just the original trio of Rudolph, O'Kelly and Ron or the later versions of the group (the Isley/Jasper/Isley trio, Ronald and Rudolph as a duo after O'Kelly's death, just Ronald, Ronald, Ernie & Marvin or today's Mr. Biggs (Ronald) and Ernie)...
Sure, there's 100's of Greatest Hits compilations on this legendary group, but trust me this one is probably as good as it gets. Get it and see why R. Kelly was so excited to work with them on his third album onwards to today and why I think THEY ARE the greatest band of all time. The Beatles are SECONDARY compared to them. Keep on rockin', Isley Brothers, and congratulations on your BET Lifetime Achievement Award, you guys deserve it! (THUMBS UP)