“Fight The Power” by The Isley Brothers (1975)

Most of my early memories of The Isley Brothers center around their slow jams. And truthfully, slow jams are what Ronald Isley’s voice is most suited for. “For The Love Of You”? “Voyage To Atlantis”? “Don’t Say Goodnight”? All big “yes”ses in my personal library. “Fight The Power” finds The Isleys in unusually aggressive funk/rock mode. Ronald’s lead vocal deviates from his usual croon and is more of a growl, down to the infamous line about “all this bullshit goin’ down”. The bite in the lyrics is supported by a rock solid rhythm, complete with a burbling synth bass. Radio needing to bleep that part out of the song didn’t stop it from becoming an R&B chart topper and a top ten pop hit. While all the brothers (and in-law Chris Jasper) got songwriting credit, it’s widely accepted that virtuoso guitarist (and Hendrix disciple) Ernie Isley wrote “Fight”‘s lyrics. Ernie’s not shredding on this one, but he plays some tasty rhythm guitar on this one. 

I wasn’t around when “Fight The Power” was a hit, but it certainly seemed as though there was a LOT of bullshit goin’ down. The after-effects of the late ‘60s alone must have left a pretty shitty residue. Add Watergate, a gas crisis…man, sort of puts this Make America Great Again stuff in perspective, huh? (sarcastic grin). Of course, proving that the more things change, the more things stay the same…

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