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THE ISLEY BROTHERS


Live Dates
Listed here WILL BE all documented live appearances of the Isley Brothers - I've just started to build this page so just three gigs are currently included, many more will be added later.


Saturday 23 May 1964
Bermuda Tennis Stadium, Hamilton, Bermuda
Billed as "THE ISLEY BROTHERS AND THEIR SIX-PIECE BAND". Two shows, at 7.45 p.m. and 9.45 p.m.
Complete line-up: The Golden Tones, The Calypso Trio, Tiny Ratteray, Clement Joel, Violetta Carmichael, Big Daddy Gates and Speedy Ming. Admission "ALL SEATS 15/- each" except "10/- for all school-children at the 7.45 Show!"

Ronnie Isley mentioned this gig in the liner notes for the lp In The Beginning:
"Then we went to Bermuda. We played in a baseball stadium. We'd been advertised for months, so the place was filled and those who couldn't get seats were standing on hills overlooking the stadium. It was us and local talent. Our band backed the other acts." 3

the royal gazette 22 may 1964
THE ROYAL GAZETTE 22 MAY 1964

It seems unlikely that the Isleys band literally backed all of the other acts but they may have done so for some of them. It would of course have been quite something to witness Jimi Hendrix playing calypso.

"The Buccaneer proudly presents" refers to the Buccaneer club in Hamilton. An ad published in the Royal Gazette 30 January 1964 -issue tells us that The Buccaneer was located on Church Street, Hamilton in the Imperial Hotel Building. The ad states "We proudly ANNOUNCE OUR FIRST BIG SHOW (one of many to come)" and listed Nora Jenkins (a "song stylist") and Clive Nickerson ("organ combo"). So it seems that the club had only started to book acts in January and that the club was probably way too small for the Isley Bros., hence the shows were booked at the Bermuda Tennis Stadium instead. The manager of the club is also listed in the ad, "Mr. MANUEL MARIERA", so mister Mariera may have been involved in organizing the concert.

Rather unusually some of the gig ads include a separate picture of the Isleys backing band but this is out of date. Jimi is not pictured and it looks like many of the other musicians pictured do not match those that actually were in the band at the time either. This shot may have been replaced by the one that does show Jimi - which in turn then may not have been a simple memento but rather a publicity shot of the backing band used for marketing?

Sandys Lions Club organized a raffle at the gig with two tickets to the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 ("Hotel expenses paid") as prizes. So the gig was back in the news a few days later, the Royal Gazette 27 May 1964:
"WINNING TICKETS IN LIONS RAFFLE
The Sandys Lions Club have released the ticket numbers of the two winners of round-trips to New York. The tickets were raffled on Saturday night at the Isley Brothers show at the Tennis Stadium. The winning tickets were Nos. 1710 and 201."

Quote from an article about Big Daddy Gates, a Bermuda musician and one of the support acts: 4
"He recalled taking the stage in Bermuda with [...] the Isley Brothers — then featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar and Buddy Miles on drums." 91

The part about Buddy Miles being on drums sounds surprising but Jimi and Buddy were first acquainted around this time and indeed reportedly first met at an Isley Brothers -gig, as stated for example in Modern Drummer -magazine: "While playing with the Delfonics in Montreal in 1964, Buddy met Jimi Hendrix while the guitarist was touring with the Isley Brothers." (would be nice to find a direct verbatim printed / recorded quote from Buddy Miles about this, anyone?) So theoretically it IS possible that Buddy might have been on drums but as far as currently known Buddy never played with the Isley Brothers.

On the day of the concert the weather forecast was "Sunny skies with surface winds, variable at 5 knots." 5 knots is 5.75 mph (2.5 m/s). The preceding day's temperature had been at around 71 F (21.5 C). 6 This was an outdoor concert in fine sub-tropical weather, on a Saturday, for the whole family with children allowed. There must have been pictures taken and if you check YouTube lot's of tourists brought 8mm film cameras to the island. So photos and / or film of the Isleys concert must exist - but where are they?

Finally, pretty much every mention anywhere of the Isley Brothers gig in Bermuda states that it took place during the Bermuda Cup Match. This was not the case - the 1964 "The 63rd Annual Somerset--St. George's Cup Match" was held two and a half months later on 30 & 31 July 1964. 5 Most likely people's memories of two separate events that took place within a short space of time have been fused together.

Friday 19 June 1964
Rockland Palace, New York City, New York
The Isley Brothers were one of the artists booked for a "farewell" show for WWRL DJ Magnificent Montague at Rockland Palace in New York City Friday 19 June 1964. I have been unable to find any ads for the evening so what the event was billed as is unknown, as is the full artist line-up.

Cash Box reported in the 13 June 1964 -issue:
"NEW YORK - The Magnificent Montague, popular WWRL-New York platter spinner, informed Cash Box last week that he is exiting the 24-hour-a-day outlet. Deejay, who has been with the r&b station for the past two years, will assume similar duties on WVON-Chicago on June 22. Montague said he is leaving the Sonderling station on his own account and has warmest possible feelings for WWRL`s management.

On June 19 the jockey will hold a farewell stage show at the Rockland Place here."

See The Isley Brothers And Magnificent Montague for more facts and speculation about the relationship between the DJ and the band.

Based on the available photographs the show included an unidentified artist, possibly Otis Redding1, the Isley Brothers (with Jimi Hendrix on guitar), Ben E. King and Wilson Pickett with Magnificient Montague acting as the MC.

Montague can be (partially) seen in one of the pictures behind Wilson Pickett, with his hand on Pickett`s shoulder (click on the pictures for a larger version).



Here are all of the available Isley Brothers shots from the show (scroll left & right):



Ben E. King:



Unknown artist (possibly Otis Redding): 1


Friday 26 June 1964 - Thursday 2 July 1964
Apollo Theatre, New York City, New York
Complete line-up:
WWRL Rocky G - Enoch Gregory - King Coleman - Bruce Brown present: the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, the "5" Royales, the Exciters, the Charades and the Carltons
Shows at 12:30 - 3:30 - 6:30 - 9:30 (+ Saturday midnight show)

25 Jun 1964, Thu Daily News (New York, New York) Newspapers.com
Getty has two shots of the Isley Brothers from this date mislabeled as pictures of the Coasters at the Apollo.2 Jimi tried his best to stay out of the frame but there he is, just visible in the lower left corner in the first shot where he can be seen busy fixing something in the back of the guitar amp. He may have had technical problems as in the second shot of the Isleys the amp can be seen on stage but there's no trace of Jimi (unless he's lurking in the darkness stage right).

Here are the Isley Brothers photos from the Getty website (scroll left & right and click on the pictures for a larger version):

The line-up also included Dionne Warwick and Getty has one shot of her. The stage is very dark and the shot closely cropped, no other musicians can be seen. But there are Apollo note stands visible which aren't there in the Isleys pictures so she probably had her own backing band with her (meaning that Jimi probably only backed the Isleys on these dates)

All three pictures are credited to Don Paulsen.

No pictures of the rest of the artists on the bill, the "5" Royales, the Exciters, the Charades and the Carltons can be found on the Getty website, at least not yet.

Saturday 17 October 1964 - 23 November 1964
The Isley Brothers tour the UK, as reported in the 24 October 1964 issue of Cash Box:
"Dick Alen of Universal Attractions in England for a tour with the Isley Brothers after which they`ll go to the Continent."

Jimi does not play with the band during this UK tour, whether he was "officially" let go or just asked to sit this tour out is not know.

The tour features The Zombies, The Searchers, Dionne Warwick, Alan Elsdon, Tony Sheveton and The Voodoos. MC's "Syd and Eddie" (comedy act) [line-up confirmed by a concert program]. The tour includes the following dates 7

October
17 Sheffield, 18 Liverpool, 19 Huddersfield, 21 Colchester, 22 Luton, 23 Slough, 24 Stoke, 25 Aston, 26 Taunton, 27 Exeter, 28 Gloucester, 29 Worcester, 30 Maidstone, 31 Bournemouth

November
1 Portsmouth, 3 Cambridge, 4 Leeds (Odeon), 5 Kingston, 6 Chester, 7 Doncaster (Gaumont), 8 Stockton (Odeon), 9 Glasgow (Odeon), 10 Chesterfield (ABC), 11 Cleethorpes (ABC), 12 Birmingham (Odeon), 13 East Ham (Granada), 14 Norwich (Theatre Royal), 15 Coventry (Theatre), 16 Nottingham (Odeon), 17 Bristol (Colston Hall), 18 Croydon (ABC), 19 Tunbridge Wells (Essoldo), 20 Cannock (Essoldo), 21 Newcastle (City Hall), 23 Manchester (Odeon)


Friday 27 November 1964
Ready Steady Go !, ITV
Television House, Kingsway, London
Featuring:
The Beatles: "I Feel Fine", "She's A Woman", "Baby's In Black" & "Kansas City / Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey"
Kim Weston: "A Little More Love"
The Isley Brothers: "Stagger Lee" & "The Last Girl"
The Searchers: "What Have They Done To The Rain" & "This Feeling Inside"
Sandie Shaw: "Girl Don't Come"
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas: "Tennessee Waltz"
The Zombies: "Summertime"

The complete unedited original episode is not available (though it probably does still exist) so the tracks are not listed in the original sequence.

27 Nov 1964, Fri Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, Merseyside, England) Newspapers.com
The Beatles segment was not broadcast live but had instead been recorded 23 November so the Isley Brothers and the Beatles did not meet during filming... The Searchers, the Isley Brothers and the Zombies had just finished a two month UK tour together at the time of this live TV broadcast. The Isley Brothers "performed" (ie mimed to) "Stagger Lee" and "The Last Girl". 13

"Stagger Lee" on YouTube:


"The Last Girl" on YouTube:



POSSIBLE RADIO BROADCAST CIRCA OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 1964
I've found two news items that detail a radio broadcast from late October - early November 1964 which featured on-air interviews with both the Animals and the Isley Brothers. The broadcast was supposedly done live on CKLW in the USA and Radio Caroline in Britain:

Cash Box 7 November 1964:
"The first transatlantic commercial radio tie up just took place between Britain's pirate radio ship, Radio Caroline, and America's CKLW station. Caroline D.J. Simon Dee gathered together The Animals, The Nashville Teens, The Bachelors, Georgie Fame, Manfred Mann and the Isley Brothers, who gave on-the-spot interviews to CKLW D.J. Terry Knight. There is to be a weekly exchange of interviews with British stars being heard on CKLW and American stars taping interviews for Radio Caroline."

and Billboard 28 November 1964:
"LONDON — The Animals, the Bachelors, the Nashville Teens, the Isley Brothers and Paul Jones, lead singer with the Manfred Mann group, recently took part in a unique broadcast from London to 26 American states and much of Canada via transatlantic telephone. The program was the first in a series to be beamed by Britain's leading "pirate" station Radio Caroline to CKLW, Detroit. The two stations are taking turns to phone a 30-minute show from each other's country every week.

The British part is phoned from Caroline House in London and used in disk jockey Terry Knight's four-hour show. He interviews all the artists in the British studio and later plays their records.

CKLW returns the same kind of material for similar use here.



IF such a broadcast took place there would have been several very interesting Hendrix connections here even though Jimi wasn't playing with the Isley Brothers at the time:

- the Isleys would have been in the studio together with Chas Chandler, the bass player of the Animals, who later became Jimi's manager
- the British part of the broadcast was done from "Caroline House" in London, at 6 Chesterfield Gardens. This was also to be the future location of Track Records, Jimi's UK record company from 1967 onwards
- the Radio Caroline DJ who did the Interview in London, Simon Dee, later had the Jimi Hendrix Experience as guests on his Dee Time television show in 1967

BUT, I contacted Media Historian Hans Knot 8 about this broadcast and he casts doubt on it ever taking place - apparently there are several examples of completely fabricated Radio Caroline news stories. Hans believes that the story about the CKLW broadcast was just one more.

Does anyone out there have any more information? Did anyone hear (or even tape) such a broadcast in 1964? Can someone confirm the broadcast did / did not happen? If you can add something please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




SOURCES
1 the unidentified artist might be Otis Redding but that`s just a guess. As the singer has his hand in front of his face it`s impossible to see his facial features properly. But he looks like a big man, wears clothes similar to what Otis wore, and has a ring in the same finger as Otis. The best known images of Otis Redding have him sporting natural hair trimmed short but circa 1964 he had a "conk" haircut. Otis also often gigged with a large horn section. I believe that I may have ID`d one of the sax players from another Otis gig shot but I`m not 100% sure. So this all remains guesswork - if anyone can ID the singer or can point to something that definitively rules Otis out please let me know.

2 The Isley Brothers had a one week booking at Apollo Theatre between Friday 26 June 1964 - Thursday 2 July 1964. This was preceded by a one week booking for:

Friday 19 June 1964 - Thursday 25 June 1964
the Coasters, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Reflections, Ruth McFadden, Tommy Hunt, King Curtis and King Coleman

So Getty has photographs from a two week period.

In the Getty database the Warwick shot has the "Object name":
huty2563621

And the two Isley shots are:
huty2563624
huty2563625

Here's the whole sequence of shots on the Getty website that includes the Isley & Warwick pictures:

huty2563618 Kris Kristofferson 1970
huty2563619 Kris Kristofferson 1970
huty2563620 the Coasters at the Apollo 1964
huty2563621 Dionne Warwick at the Apollo 1964
huty2563622 doesn't exist
huty2563623 the Coasters at the Apollo 1964
huty2563624 the Isley Brothers at the Apollo 1964 (captioned as the Coasters)
huty2563625 the Isley Brothers at the Apollo 1964 (captioned as the Coasters)
huty2563626 the Reflections at the Apollo 1964
huty2563627 King Curtis at the Apollo 1964
huty2563628 Gladys Knight & the Pips at the Apollo 1964
huty2563629 Gladys Knight & the Pips at the Apollo 1964
huty2563630 King Curtis at the Apollo 1964
huty2563631 Delmonico's Hotel 1965, fans waiting for the Beatles

One more piece of evidence, Getty has pictures of James Brown at the Apollo in 1964: www.gettyimages.fi/detail/uutiskuva/soul-singer-james-brown-performs-onstage-with-johnny-terry-uutiskuva/73998093
You'll notice that the drum riser has identical decoration to the one seen in the Isley Brothers pictures confirming that the Apollo location is correct for those.

So it seems that the only mistake that Getty made was identifying the band as the Coasters instead of the Isley Brothers, the year and the location seem to be correct in all of these pictures.

3 lp The Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendrix - In The Beginning (T Neck TNS 3007) USA 1971

4 Big Daddy Gates is quoted in an obituary published in the Royal Gazette in Bermuda in 2017. No source for the interview quote is given: www.royalgazette.com/other/news/article/20170721/musician-big-daddy-gates-dies-aged-77

5 an ad for the 1964 Cup Match was published in the Bermuda Recorder 25 July 1964 -issue. The match is held annually on the Thursday and Friday closest to 1 August, which in 1964 were Thursday 30 July and Friday 31 July.

6 the weather forecast and the previous days weather were published in the Royal Gazette 23 May 1964.

7 the tourdates are taken from the liner notes of the Zombies cd box-set Zombie Heaven.

8 email from Hans Knot https://hansknot.com 25 August 2022 with background information on Radio Caroline, including the location of Caroline House