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Marvin Isley ( 1953 - 2010 )  Category ( Singers ) [suggest a correction]

Born the youngest child in a musical family from New Jersey, Marvin Isley grew up surrounded by rhythm and sound. In the late 1960s, he, his older brother, Ernie, and their brother-in-law Chris Jasper, started a musical trio. Before too long, the three joined the older brothers of the family as part of the Isley Brothers.

The group had already achieved great success with such hits as "Shout" and "Twist and Shout." When Marvin joined the group he was still in high school, and could only play gigs on weekends and school holidays. Marvin played bass guitar, and within three years of his joining his older brothers, the group's record sales reached platinum levels.

This was during the legendary Funk era of the Rhythm and Blues genre of music. He has been described as being "part of the American soul foundation." The band became known for their flashy stage outfits, including velvet trousers, frilled shirts, and fur-lined jackets. Their stage shows were equally vibrant, with inventive uses of light and choreographed dancers. Their music made such an impact on American culture that they easily made the cross over from R&B charts to rock and roll. Rolling Stone magazine featured the Isley Brothers on their cover, a sign that the band were accepted by the white rock band status quo.

In 1984, Marvin left the Isley Brothers and formed Isley-Jasper-Isley. Within one year the new group had a big hit, "Caravan of Love." However, he decided to rejoin the family group in 1991. In 1992, the Isley Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, by 1997 Marvin was compelled to give up recording and touring, due to a diagnosis of diabetes, which resulted in a double-leg amputation. Marvin continued to live in quiet retirement as his disease progressed. His widow, Sheila Isley, has commented that he was not only a good husband and father, but that he treated her as an equal in the relationship, granting to her the same recognition of achievement as he had acquired in the music world. "That's the kind of person he was," she told the Associated Press. "He was a straight-up, standup guy."

The couple met on an airline flight. Sheila said that he looked so different in person than on stage that she did not recognize him. They later married and had two children together, Jalen and Sydney, who are still minors. Marvin also had a son from an earlier relationship. As his disease entered the final stages, Marvin went to live in a hospice facility, where diabetes finally took his life in June 2010. He was fifty-six years old. Sheila Isley said that the children are "devastated." "He was a great husband and he was a great family man."

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