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In Memory of Marvin Isley: History's Best Brother Bands

marvin isley dies

When the Isley Brothers’ Marvin Isley died this week, I started thinking about the other great brother-bands of recent history. Because, truly, is there anything that lights up a woman’s heart like a crew of bros. making music together? First, though, a bit about Marvin. By the time Marvin, the youngest brother, joined the Isley Brothers band in 1973, they’d already launched themselves with hits like 1959′s “Shout.” In the ’80s Marvin briefly split from the group to do his own thing, but was back in the fold by the time they were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, in 1992. The youngest Isley Brother died at only 56-years-old on Sunday, in a Chicago hospital.

And now, on to the brothers, brothers, brothers (in no particular order):

1. The Allman Brothers: The Georgia-based Southern-rock band was formed in 1969 by sibs Greg Allman and Duane Allman (a legend of the slide guitar). Technically, the brother part of the band ended in 1971, when Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident at age 24. Still, the band, with a rotating crew of musicians, continues to play today and occasionally record. They celebrated their 40th anniversary last year.

2. The Bee Gees. The brothers Gibb—Barry, Robin, and Maurice—were the original Bee Gees founders. They soft-rocked three part harmonies through the 1960s and ’70s, and co-wrote most of their big hits. And yet, they’ll forever be known for their hair. Flip, flip, flip.

3. The Beach Boys. Brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson founded the band with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Their sound was pure ’60s pop-rock. Their legacy? Wilson’s famous kids, Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson.

4. The Kinks. Not a brother band by name, this 1960s British invasion group held strong until it splintered in 1996. It was founded by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, two of the coolest bros. in rock history.

5. The Jonas Brothers. Ah, the Jonas Brothers. They should be thrilled to me mentioned alongside the Isley Brothers and The Kinks. The brothers are Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas. Their father is the Disney Network. Okay, not literally, but were it not for the group’s multiple appearances on the Disney Network, they might have turned out to be just another flash-in-the-pan boy band. You wouldn’t even know the brothers’ names. And yet, you do.

6. Hanson. Oh, my. Oklahoma brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson took the preschool set by storm in 1997 with their unaccountable hit, “MMMBop.” They went on to earn three Grammy nominations for their debut big-label album. And then they went through puberty. They’re now ages 24-29 and continue to perform. 

Who else would you add? The Britpop Oasis brothers? The unretalted-to-each-other Doobie Brothers? Leave a comment and let me know who would make your list.

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