Bill Isles, co-founder and member of the infamous R&B and Soul group The O’Jays, has passed away at the age of 78.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Isles died in his Oceanside home, just north of San Diego, last month according to his son, Duane Isles.
In 1948, Isles and his childhood friends from Canton, Ohio, came together to form The Mascots before changing their name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961. According to USA Today, the band later changed its name to The O’Jays after getting impactful advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O’Jay.
Isles contributed to some of the group’s greatest hits, including “Lonely Drifter” and “Lipstick Traces” before he left the group in 1965. According to Duane, Bill then went on to become The O’Jays’ tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released its biggest hits, “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers.”
Most of Isles’ life was spent in Los Angeles before he moved to Oceanside with his family in 1981. Shawn Mitchell, Isles’ pastor at New Venture Christian Fellowship, said Bill had a voice to remember.
“Isles was one of the most memorable, loving and consistently upbeat and talented individuals I have had the privilege of knowing,” said Mitchell, who presided over Isles’ funeral. “He was a lover of music and a lover of God, and he combined both of those on stage in extraordinary fashion.”⠀
A funeral for Isles was held on Saturday. The singer leaves behind his wife, Laural, seven children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.