NABJ Black News & Views
Most neighbors on the quiet street in the northeast section of Teaneck, New Jersey, remember the Isleys as the family with the swimming pool, open to all the kids on those hot summer days. They remember Ronald Isley as the great dad, who, when not on tour, often took the neighborhood children for ice cream or to the amusement park. Those who grew up near the Isleys, remember the “listening sessions” as the group often shared their latest releases before it was heard on the radio. But even if you didn’t grow up in Teaneck, you knew the bright orange record label “T-Neck” that cemented the township in music history.
Earlier this summer, Teaneck welcomed the Isley Brothers home and honored them by naming a street after the iconic group. Teaneck High School Flag Twirlers opened the celebration, dancing to one of the Isley’s most memorable songs. Then there were the proclamations by township, county and state officials. Many who grew up on those streets in the 1960’s, got the chance to share their remembrances of a time past. And then it was Ronald and Ernie’s turn to simply say “Wow” at the outpouring of love and support.
In the early 1960’s, The Isley family moved to Englewood, New Jersey from Cincinnati, Ohio. Ernie Isley, the youngest brother, was only eight. Ronald and Rudolph left the family home, married and moved to nearby Teaneck where they raised their kids. The brothers who are left are spread between California and Chicago. These days, only Ronald and Ernie are still performing. After the highly publicized Verzuz battle with Earth Wind and Fire, the Isleys have another generation of fans to appreciate the longevity of their music.