As I was looking through the records at a thrift store today, I came across an LP by The Isley Brothers called “Go All The Way.” This record was significant because both the front and back covers featured several of the band members wearing spandex disco jeans. The record is from 1980 so it totally makes sense, and I almost bought it except for the fact that it was only the cover. No vinyl inside. In case you are not familar with this album here are the front and back covers:
As you can see on the first picture the two guys sitting down are wearing disco pants–one red, one black. On the second picture you get a better view of the pants, as the same two guys are wearing them and are standing up.
I like The Isley Brothers music but I never considered that they had ever worn spandex disco pants. I knew of The Brothers Johnson but I was pretty sure the Isleys were older since they had been around making records since the late 1950’s. The Brothers Johnson were peaking in the late 70’s & early 80’s, the classic disco jeans period.
I think it’s great that the Isleys wore them! They weren’t the youngest band on the scene at the time. Think about it: they had their first biggest with in 1959 with “Shout.” In the 60’s they are remembered for “This Old Heart of Mine” and “It’s Your Thing,” arguably one of the first funk songs. In the 70’s they had “That Lady” which kicked off their dance era change of style. So it makes sense that they would incorporate disco pants into their wardrobes. It’s just that I never considered it. I’ll have to check on YouTube to see if there are any performances by them from that era.
As I searched for the aforementioned album online, I came across the cover of their 1981 album called “Inside You.”
On this cover there are at least 3 of them wearing spandex disco jeans; one wearing gold and two wearing black. I cannot tell if the two in white are wearing disco pants. The style of the pants very much look like they could be. But there is no shine (or very little) seen on them so I can’t be sure.
And in my relentless searches I also came across the cover of their “Winner Takes All” album from 1979.
The guy in the middle of the top row looks like he could be wearing disco pants but they could also be leather pants. Again, I’m just not sure. Perhaps it would help to have the actual album in my hands or a really blown-up photo. Also, the guy on the left in the lower row is wearing some kind of shiny pants as well, which could be spandex or leather. I don’t know how popular leather pants were during the late 70’s but I do know that they had been around for quite some time by that point. I’m leaning towards declaring that the pants in these two photos are spandex disco jeans mainly because of their skintight fit. While skintight leather pants look and feel great they are absolutely not comfortable!
So did any of you out there know that the Isleys wore shiny disco pants back in the day? Do you know of any other photos or album covers that featured them in disco jeans? The trouble with looking up album artwork online is that you mainly get to see only the front and hardly ever the back.