High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nary a Nay...the Isleys Have it! - Part 1

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 
somehow "greater" 
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 
or earlier. 

"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.
Go figure!

"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 
(July 1969) 

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!


  1. When I first saw the name Isleys I really didn't remember them but with the first song it all came back and that was an enjoyable journey. Then you were talking about the dancers and made visions of Bobby & Barbara from Lawrence Welk pop into my head. This was another home run my friend. Have a super weekend.

  2. Odie - I'm happy to know that you recall the Isley Brothers because they made important contributions to the Dell soundtrack. It might have been somewhat unusual for that brother and sister to dance together but they knew each other's moves and had lots of chemistry. I envied them! Thanks for your comment, Odie. I hope you had a great b-day!

  3. Oh I certainly remember the Isley Brothers Shady! I particularly loved This Old Heart of Mine and can remember bopping away to it!! What memories your blog brings back dear friend. I am so glad that I found you. I certainly agree that the music of 1966 and earlier was by far the best!! Hope you're having a good weekend over there.

  4. Thisisme - I'm glad the Isleys got you bopping. They certainly had that same effect on Dell rats way back when. My dear friend, I am very glad that I found you, too. You're a delight and I treasure our friendship! Enjoy the rest of your weekend in picturesque Devon!

  5. I'm sorry to say I only recognized the first song in this post. I like it and the second song the best of all. They are exciting songs, as you said.
    I really enjoyed hearing these new songs and I'm looking forward to more.

  6. Belle - It's cool to know that "Take Some Time Out" is your Pick to Click as well as mine. Soul music started to turn funky the following year and simple songs that celebrated love, dancing and good times were replaced by those with social awareness themes and war protests. Serious music with an agenda was important and relevant but it was stripped of its innocence. It was no longer fun. Thank you very much for your comment, dear friend Belle!

  7. How well I remember the Isley Brothers, who could forget them. My two top favorites in this post are "Take Some Time Out for Love" and "This Old Heart of Mine". We do seem to remember the best dancers from those long ago days, I know I remember them from my past. The dancin' white rats made me laugh. A+ for Shady on this one for being especially creative!

  8. TheOldSalt - Hello and welcome to SDM&M, my friend! It's so nice of you to stop by, read, listen and comment. If you share my "earlier the better" philosophy please be here Tuesday when I present the best Isley Brothers songs you never heard. Thank you once again, TOS, and please come back soon and often!

  9. Shady, is my face red! Earlier I posted a comment using a public computer and it showed up on here as a comment from The Old Salt! Sorry, it took me this long to get back on and try to correct it. It is me, Cindy Ellison, not Old Salt!

  10. Napoleon BonaparteMarch 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Cindy - Somehow I can't picture you as TheOldSalt or the old ANYTHING for that matter! (LOL) That's so funny. Well anyway, I am so glad to hear from you and thank you for taking some time out for Shady! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my dear friend!

  11. Hi Shady, Being a Doo Wop and R & B lover I agree with you on the best music being from before 1967. However, I did get into the late
    60s and early 70s music and really enjoyed some of groups that emerged at that time. Looking forward to the obscure Isley music.


  12. Jerre - Coming right up, sir! The Isleys' old gold that I'll be presenting in tomorrow's post is some of the best doo-wop, R&B and transitional soul to come out of the late 50s and early 60s. I can't believe how many of their songs I am hearing for the first time. Stay tuned and thanks so much for your comment, Jerre!

  13. I didnt really know too many of the Isley Brothers' tunes. Thanks for introducing me to some finger snappin diddies

  14. Amber Blue Bird - Truth be told, some of these songs are better suited for Rockin' Robin! (LOL) Thank you for swinging by, dear friend Amber, and have a good one up Connecticut way!

  15. Must admit that I don't know much about the music,,,but the dancing mice made me smile, Shady! heee...

  16. Lenore - I'm glad you found something here to make you smile. Mission accomplished! Have a wonderful Tuesday, dear friend!


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