Co-Founder of The O’Jays, Bill Isles, Dies at 78

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William “Bill” Isles, an original member of the chart-topping R&B group The O’Jays, has died at his Southern California home. He was 78.

Isles died of cancer last month at his home in Oceanside, just north of San Diego, his son, Duane Isles, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. The funeral for Bill Isles was held Saturday.

Bill Isles and his childhood friends in Canton, Ohio, formed The Mascots in 1958 before changing the name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961. The band changed its name to The O’Jays after getting pivotal advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O’Jay.

Known for his deep baritone voice, Isles was featured on songs including “Lonely Drifter” and “Lipstick Traces” before he quit the group in 1965. Duane Isles says his father was The O’Jays’ tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released its biggest hits, “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers.”

Bill Isles and his childhood friends in Canton, Ohio, formed the Mascots in 1958 before changing the name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961. The band changed its name to The O’Jays after getting pivotal advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O’Jay.

The O’Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Isles spent the latter part of the 1970s in Los Angeles before moving his family in 1981 to Oceanside. After leaving the music industry, Isles founded Nutri Power, a vitamin manufacturing and food supplement company, which he led until the mid-1990s, and did consulting work before retiring around 2000.

Shawn Mitchell, Isles’ pastor at New Venture Christian Fellowship, said he’ll always remember Isles’ voice and buoyancy on stage when he sang with the church choir.

“Isles was one of the most memorable, loving and consistently upbeat and talented individuals I have had the privilege of…

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