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Song Anniversary: The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing”

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In February 1969, the Isley Brothers released the single, “It’s Your Thing”. It would become a signature for the brothers in more ways than one. It would be their first hit on their own label T-Neck, which was temporarily folded after the brothers signed with leaving Motown in 1965.

“It’s Your Thing” was seen as an artistic response to Motown chief Berry Gordy’s hold on it’s artists, especially when the Isley Brothers felt second rate on the label, while stars like the Supremes, the Temptations, and the Four Tops were getting more promotion. They scored one popular hit on the label with “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)”, but they more popular in Europe than in America.

The reactivation of T-Neck Records led to a distribution deal with Buddah Records, and “It’s Your Thing was soon released as a single, off from the album It’s Our Thing. It went to number two on the pop charts, and topped the R&B charts. In 1970, the song netted the brothers a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. However, “It’s Your Thing” would be more than a massive hit.

More than sixty artists have either covered or sampled the song including Ann Peebles, the Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, and Kanye West. It has also been featured in commercials (including one from the Ramada Hotels), and even Rolling Stone took notice, ranking the song as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.