NPR released a video recording of the Isley Brothers performance from the comfort of their home studio in St. Louis, Mo. for their Tiny Desk “Home” series. The video features 4-tracks all of which are iconic in their own right. The video was released on Aug. 18 which is the birthday of the late Marvin Isley whose bass lines are still influencing artists to this day.
The Isley Brothers opened with their 1983 hit “Between the Sheets” where vocalist Ronald Isley, also known as Mr. Biggs gave a not-so-subtle nod to the late Notorious B.I.G. who sampled the track in 1994 by starting the performance by singing “I like it when you call me Big Poppa.”
They continued their show with another classic anthem, “Footsteps in the Dark,” a track that has been sampled by many artists, most famously perhaps by Icecube in his 1992 hit “It Was a Good Day,” and more recently by Thundercat in “Them Changes” in which the bass player and vocalist used the percussion from the song’s intro as a keystone throughout his track. They continued their flow with the classic Isley Brothers song “For the Love of You,” through which they build their distinct and pronounced sound for 4 minutes without once losing connection or groove.
Before closing the set with “That Lady” Ronald Isley broke into a short story and said, “it reminds me of going way back when we had Jimi Hendrix living at the house and playing songs like ‘Whose That Lady.’ We went on to meet a young fellow by the name of Kendrick Lamar who sampled the record and we got a Grammy award for it.” Immediately after which, Ernest Isley rips into a guitar riff to open the closing track.
This Tiny Desk is a special one as it encapsulates not only living legends’ nearly 70-year musical journey but also, brings attention to just how huge an effect the Isley Brothers’ music has had on heralding the music of future generations.