The Heat Is On (album)

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The Heat Is On
Studio album by The Isley Brothers
Released June 1975
Recorded 1975
Kendun Recorders
(Burbank, California)
Genre Funk, soul, quiet storm, funk rock
Length 37:03
Label T-Neck, Epic
Producer The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers chronology
Live It Up
(1974)
The Heat Is On
(1975)
Harvest for the World
(1976)
Singles from The Heat Is On
  1. "Fight the Power (Part 1 & 2)"
    Released: May 31, 1975
  2. "For the Love of You (Part 1 & 2)"
    Released: June 1975

The Heat Is On is the thirteenth studio album by American soul and funk group The Isley Brothers, released June 1975 on T-Neck Records and Epic Records. Written and produced entirely by the group, the album was recorded in 1975 at Kendum Recorders in Burbank, California. The group implemented many acoustic and electric instruments during its recording, including guitar, piano, and synthesizer. Primarily a funk and soul outing, The Heat Is On features musical elements of quiet storm and rock music, and it is divided between uptempo funk songs and subdued smooth soul-ballads.

The Heat Is On sold 500,000 copies in its first month of release and spent 40 weeks on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums chart. It became the Isley Brothers' first number-one album in the United States. The album initially received generally favorable reviews from publications, including The Village Voice, Melody Maker, and Rolling Stone. Music critics have since cited the album as among the Isley Brothers' best work. In 1999, The Heat Is On was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with shipments of two million copies. It was reissued on compact disc in 2001 by Epic Records.

Background and recording[edit]

Recording sessions for the album took place in 1975 at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, California.[1] It was mixed at Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, California and mastered by engineer Kent Duncan.[1] The album was entirely written and produced by the Isley Brothers.[1] The group implemented many acoustic and electric instruments during its recording, including guitar, piano, and the ARP synthesizer, which was programmed by engineers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff.[1] The Heat Is On is the third album recorded by the Isley Brothers with keyboardist Chris Jasper, bassist Marvin Isley, and guitarist Ernie Isley.[2]

Composition[edit]

Primarily a funk and soul outing, The Heat Is On features elements of quiet storm and rock.[2][3] The latter musical style is mostly provided by the Jimi Hendrix-influenced guitar of Ernie Isley.[2] The album is part of a succession of slickly-produced, successful soul records issued by the Isley Brothers during the 1970s that were divided between startlingly tough funk songs and subdued romantic ballads.[4] This musical formula for the album serves as a development of the group's transitional sound last featured on their landmark tenth album, 3 + 3 (1973).[4]

The Heat Is On is notable for its two radio singles, the album's angry funk opener "Fight the Power (Part 1 & 2)" and the melodic soul ballad "For the Love of You (Part 1 & 2)".[5][6] One critic cited the former song as the Isley Brothers' "most overtly political tune to date".[7] According to writer Colin Larkin, the album's contrasting sides, with one side comprising uptempo funk and the other comprising a suite of smooth soul, represent "the pinnacle of both genres".[4] Side one's closer, "Hope You Feel Better Love (Part 1 & 2)", contrasts both of the styles, as it contains melodic verses and a forceful chorus.[2] Songs from The Heat Is On, including "Fight the Power" and "For the Love of You", were sampled extensively by the following generation of hip hop artists, including Slick Rick, Common, and Masta Ace.[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album was released June 1975 on the Epic imprint-label T-Neck Records in the United States.[1] It was also made available that same year in 8-track cartridge and cassette formats, while Epic issued an LP release for distribution in the Netherlands.[9] The Heat Is On charted on June 14, 1975 and spent 40 weeks on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.[1] It became the Isley Brothers' first album to hit number one on the chart, which had been considered a rare feat for a black band at the time (the only other black bands who scored a number-one album on the pop charts were their funk contemporaries The Ohio Players and Earth, Wind & Fire).[10] The Heat Is On also peaked at number one on the Billboard Black Albums chart.[11]

The album's first single, "Fight the Power (Part 1 & 2)" peaked at number two on the Club Play Singles chart, and the second single, "For the Love of You (Part 1 & 2)", peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Pop Singles.[12] In its first month of release, it sold over 500,000 copies, and by 1992, it had shipped in excess of one million copies.[13] On August 17, 1999, The Heat Is On was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), following shipments in excess of two million copies in the United States.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B[14]
Virgin Encyclopedia 5/5 stars[10]

Upon its release, The Heat Is On received positive reviews from music publications such as The Village Voice, Melody Maker, and Rolling Stone.[3][14][15] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a B rating,[14] indicating "an admirable effort that aficionados of the style or artist will probably find quite listenable".[16] Christgau described the music as "well-nigh flawless" and stated "Ronnie Isley isn't getting any less unctuous".[14] Rolling Stone's Bob Palmer wrote favorably of the Isley Brothers' dance music sensibilities and cited The Heat Is On as "some of the best body music around".[15] Palmer also praised guitarist Ernie Isley and his contributions to the album.[15]

Since its initial reception, music critics have cited the album as among the Isley Brothers' best work.[2][6] Mark Anthony Neal of PopMatters praised Ronald Isley's interpretive skills and balladry, stating "Whereas the up-tempo workouts helped the Isley’s reach new audiences, it was their balladry, courtesy of lead vocalist Ronald, that distinguished them among other soul/R&B/funk bands of the era."[7] In 2001, the album was reissued on compact disc by Epic Records with a live bonus cut of "Fight the Power".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Rudolph Isley, O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley and Chris Jasper. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Fight the Power (Part 1 & 2)"   5:19
2. "The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2)"   5:37
3. "Hope You Feel Better Love (Part 1 & 2)"   6:06
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "For the Love of You (Part 1 & 2)"   5:38
5. "Sensuality (Part 1 & 2)"   6:52
6. "Make Me Say It Again Girl (Part 1 & 2)"   7:43

Personnel[edit]

Musician[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Malcolm Cecil – associate production, engineering, electronic music programming
  • Kent Duncan – mastering
  • The Isley Brothers – arrangements, compositions, producer
  • Robert Margouleff – associate production, engineering, electronic music programming

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position[11]
U.S. Billboard Pop Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Black Albums 1

Singles[edit]

Song Chart (1975) Peak
position[12]
"Fight the Power (Part 1 & 2)" U.S. Billboard Club Play Singles 2
"For the Love of You (Part 1 & 2)" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 22

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Red Octopus by Jefferson Starship
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 13–19, 1975
Succeeded by
Between the Lines by Janis Ian

Release history[edit]

Information regarding the release history of The Heat Is On was adapted from Discogs.[9]

Region Year Label Format Catalog
United States 1975 T-Neck Records vinyl LP PZ 33536
United States 1975 T-Neck 8-track cartridge, quadrophonic ZAQ 33536
United States 1975 T-Neck cassette, stereo PZT 33536
Netherlands 1975 Epic Records vinyl LP EPC 69139
United States 1975 T-Neck vinyl LP, quadraphonic, 33 ⅓ RPM PZQ 33536
Japan 1995 Sony Records remastered CD SRCS 6464
United States 2001 Epic remastered CD EK 85315
United States 2001 CBS remastered CD ZK 33536

Sample use[edit]

The information regarding sampling of songs from The Heat Is On is adapted from TheBreaks.com.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Track listing and credits as per liner notes for The Heat Is On CD reissue
  2. ^ a b c d e f Henderson, Alex. Review: The Heat Is On. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  3. ^ a b Kubernik, Harvey. "Review: The Heat Is On. Melody Maker: October 11, 1975.
  4. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin. "Biography: The Isley Brothers". The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 1238. 1992.
  5. ^ Jones, Alan. "Review: The Heat Is On". Music Week: October 13, 2001.
  6. ^ a b Winning, Brolin. Review: The Heat Is On. Rhapsody. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  7. ^ a b Neal, Mark Anthony. Review: The Heat Is On. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  8. ^ a b Rap Sample Search: The Heat Is On. TheBreaks. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.
  9. ^ a b The Heat Is On (Album). Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  10. ^ a b Larkin, Colin. "Review: The Heat Is On". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: March 1, 2002.
  11. ^ a b Billboard Albums: The Heat Is On. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  12. ^ a b Billboard Singles: The Heat Is On. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  13. ^ a b Gold & Platinum Search: The Heat Is On. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  14. ^ a b c d Christgau, Robert. Review: The Heat Is On. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  15. ^ a b c Palmer, Bob. Review: The Heat Is On. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2010-07-21.
  16. ^ Consumer Guide: Grades 1969-89. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2010-07-21.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]