Who Is That Lady? When I first saw this great video made by the residents of Westminster Village, I just fell in love with their take on the Isley Brothers song.
This is the group that brought us the “Harlem Shake” a few months ago lead by the spry 99-year-old. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the “Harlem Shake,” but this guy won my heart, as did the group’s interpretation of (Who’s) That Lady.
That’s when I got to thinking about the song itself, and thought it might be interesting to actually answer the question. So I did a little research.
Who’s That Lady was first recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1964. Then in 1973, they re-recorded the song as (Who’s) That Lady with some notable differences, and it became the familiar hit we are apt to sing along with when we hear it on the radio. The song was inspired by Curtis Mayfield’s Gypsy Woman and The Impressions‘ (with Mayfield) recording of the song.
Interesting note: Does Ernie Isley’s guitar playing on the 1973 version remind you of anyone? In 1964 The Isley brothers hired a session musician, Jimmy James, later known as Jimi Hindrex, who became a great influence on Ernie. Hendrix recorded Testify with The Isley Brothers in 1964 on their own label, T-neck. This is Hendrix’s first recording. Ernie was also influenced by Carlos Santana’s Latin sound which is easily discernible on the 1973 recording.
Now, back to the song. When The Isley Brothers decided to remake Who’s That Lady in 1973, they had added three members to the band. Ernie (guitar), Marvin Isley (bass) and Chris Jasper (keyboard/piano) rewrote the instrumental adding congas, Latin percussion and an organ solo. The three eldest Isley’s O’Kelley, Jr., Rudolph, and Ronald revamped the harmonies and lead vocals, thus rendering the song we have come to so readily recognize today.
The song became a top ten hit for The Isley Brothers and is #357 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs List.
Though certainly not the first, the Westminster Village interpretation of (Who’s)That Lady is one of the most enjoyable and inventive ones I’ve seen. Do yourself a favor and watch this wonderful group’s take on this timeless classic.