It's Your Thing

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"It's Your Thing"
Isleyyourthing.jpg
Single by The Isley Brothers
from the album It's Our Thing
ReleasedFebruary 16, 1969
Format7" single
RecordedA&R Studios, New York City; January 1969
GenreFunk
Length2:47
LabelT-Neck
901
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers singles chronology
"Put Yourself in My Place"
(1969)
"It's Your Thing"
(1969)
"I Turned You On"
(1969)
Music video
"It's Your Thing" (audio only) on YouTube

"It's Your Thing" is a funk single by The Isley Brothers. Released in 1969, the anthem was an artistic response to Motown chief Berry Gordy's demanding hold on his artists after the Isleys left the label in late 1968.

The lyrics of the chorus, which also serve as first verse, run: "It's your thing/ Do what you wanna do/ I can't tell you/ Who to sock it to". The song is ranked #420 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

History[edit]

Overview[edit]

After scoring one popular hit with the label with "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)", the Isleys felt typecast in the role as a second-tier act while well-established Detroit acts like The Temptations, The Miracles, and the Four Tops got more promotion from the label Motown.

The brothers' decision to leave Motown came after a successful UK tour, where they had a bigger fan base than in America. A re-release of "This Old Heart" had reached number three on the UK pop singles chart. Similar success came with two more singles from their Motown catalog that were hits well after their Motown departure.

Berry Gordy allowed the brothers to leave the label, and the Isleys reactivated their own label, T-Neck Records, which they had originally started a few years prior to their Motown signing. For Buddah Records, the Isleys recorded "It's Your Thing" which Ronald wrote upon arriving home after taking his daughter Tawana to school. The lead singer said that he thought of the melody and some of the lyrics in his head. His older brothers O'Kelly and Rudolph helped compose more lyrics.

Release and reaction[edit]

Recorded in two takes and featuring the first appearance of 16-year-old Ernie on bass and Skip Pitts on guitar. The song was released as a single on February 16, 1969, and quickly rose to the top of both the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts, peaking at #2 on the former, (behind Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension),[1] and marking their first #1 hit in the latter.[2] Upon the song's release and ascent to success, Gordy threatened to sue the group for releasing it in an attempt to bring them back to Motown, but he eventually cancelled his threat, and in February 1970 the brothers became the first former Motown act to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Cover versions and legacy[edit]

Over 60 artists have recorded their own version of the song.

  • In 1969 Atlantic recording artist Lotti Golden also recorded the song in a mash-up medley with "Sock It to Me Baby", to promote her Atlantic Records debut LP [4] The medley included the only two covers that Golden recorded as an artist. In 2000, the medley featuring "It's Your Thing", was reissued in an Atlantic compilation, with Golden as the sole female artist in the line up.[5]
  • The song has been credited for being one of the first fully-fledged funk songs at the time that such artists as James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone brought their own funk anthems to the scene. Brown used the musical background from the song for the songs "It's My Thing (You Can't Tell Me Who to Sock It to)", an answer song by Marva Whitney, and Brown's own 1974 single, "My Thang".
  • The Jackson 5, who were not yet established artists, first performed the song at their television debut on the Miss Black America Pageant, later recording it during sessions for their 1970 album ABC. (It is not listed as a track on the album.)[vague]
  • Like many of their earlier singles, the song has been featured in commercials. Some Canadian commercials for the Ramada hotel chain have featured a cover version of "It's Your Thing", modified so the lyrics say "Do Your Thing" instead.
  • It also appears in the English version of the adult animated film Bad Cat (2016).

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1969-05-03
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 54.
  3. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/hot-dog-mw0000110521
  4. ^ "SpecialRelease". Record Store Day. April 16, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "SpecialRelease". Record Store Day. April 16, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  6. ^ Prisencolinensinainciusol (with lyrics) on YouTube
  7. ^ "Samples of It's Your Thing by Lou Donaldson". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2016-05-09.

External links[edit]