Co-founder of chart-topping The O'Jays dies of cancer at 78

April 07, 2019 - 12:23 pm

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) — 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' son, Duane Isles, tells The San Diego Union-Tribune that his father died of cancer in Oceanside last month. The funeral was 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.

Bill Isles was featured on songs including "Lonely Drifter" and "Lipstick Traces" before quitting the group in 1965. Duane Isles says his father was The O'Jays' tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released "Love Train" and "Back Stabbers."

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