By Greg Kay
This week’s Sample Saturday came to me as I woke up on this summer afternoon. This song always seems to work its way into my head when the temperature begins to start chillin’ in the 90’s and the days get longer while the skirts get shorter. Thanks to the legendary R&B group The Isley Brothers, Ice Cube’s “Today Was a Good Day” has been solidified as one of the best summer jams of all time and always gets a lot of play during the summer months. Their 1977 slow jam hit “Footsteps in The Dark” is the beat you’re hearing in “Today Was a Good Day.” The track was featured on the group’s platinum album, Go For Your Guns.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, the original Isley Brothers consisted of three brothers, O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph and Ronald who formed the group in 1954 under a small record label. Their popularity began to rise after releasing several hits such as “Shout,” “Twist and Shout,” and “This Old Heart of Mine” which all saw a respectable amount of success and in 1969 they took home a Grammy for their hit “Its Your Thing.”
In 1973 they formed the group into a six member lineup with the addition of younger brothers Marvin and Ernie as well as brother in law Chris Jasper and became known to fans as 3 + 3. In addition to five hit singles between 1973 and 1983, their albums 3 + 3 and The Heat Is On were certified platinum and double platinum, respectively. The group started to slowly diminish after O’Kelly Isley died of a heart attack in 1986 and Rudolph left the group in 1989 for a career in the church. Ron reformed the group in 1991 with the remaining brothers until Marvin was forced to retire due to diabetes. The two remaining members, Ron and Ernie, had to put the group on hold after Ron was sentenced to prison. Besides Ice Cube, the legendary group has been sampled by artists such as 2pac, Biggie, Outkast, J Dilla, Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugz, and UGK making the Isley Brothers one of the most sampled R&B groups in all of hip hop.