Monday, June 2, 2014

Ohio/Machine Gun

One of the things most remarked upon about the amazing if relatively brief lifespan of the Beatles is just how much they progressed and developed over that time, going from, essentially, a boy band prototype and Motown-worshipping cover artists to...well, the band that recorded Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, all in about seven years.

Some other artists have made somewhat similarly unexpected transitions: Genesis went from insanely arty prog-rockers to stadium-filling classic rock pop stars. The Bee Gees went from a sorta kinda second wave British Invasion band to disco superstars. Eric Clapton from desperately impassioned young bluesman to country wannabe to soft-rock glider. Bob Dylan went from being Robert Zimerman to Bob Dylan to the new Bob Dylan to the newer Bob Dylan to the newer yet Bob Dylan and about seven more transitions and we're still only up to 1975's Blood on the Tracks and he's barely warmed up.

But has anyone ever had the longevity, breadth and extended excellence of the Isley Brothers?

They went from this

(which, hey, is a pretty sweet career all on its own)

to this

to this

(and, yes, I know "That Lady" is obviously the bigger hit off this same album, but I like this one better)

in the span of the span of 14 years. And it was still nearly another half-decade before they even started to run out of steam. That's pretty hardcore.

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