Footsteps in the Dark

"Footsteps in the Dark" is a 1977 slow jam recorded by The Isley Brothers as an album track featured on the group's album Go for Your Guns.[1][2][3][4] It was the B-side to "Groove with You", which reached number 16 on the R&B singles chart. The track also marked Ron Isley's growing transition into singing more ballads, compared to the band's earlier funk approach. The song is featured in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV on the fictional R&B radio station The Vibe 98.8.

"Footsteps in the Dark"
Song by The Isley Brothers
from the album Go for Your Guns
A-side"Groove with You"
RecordedBearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York
Producer(s)The Isley Brothers


While the song didn't chart on the pop singles chart, it still garnered popularity initially for its laid-back grooves and the solemn lyrics (the song discussed infidelity) and later would be the basis of a sample years later first by rap group Compton's Most Wanted on their album Straight Checkn 'Em on the track "Can I Kill It?" and rapper Ice Cube, who used the musical instrumental of the song for his breakthrough hit, "It Was a Good Day".[5] The song is noted for its unique guitar timbre which can be heard on other Isley Brother tracks, such as "Voyage to Atlantis".[citation needed] However, the track is most commonly sampled for its unique syncopated drum riff.[citation needed]

The song was again sampled by Black Milk on Slum Village's 2005 self-titled album on the track "Call Me" (which featured R&B singer Dwele), and Hip-Hop producer J Dilla reworked it into "Won't Do" on his posthumous album The Shining. Singer k-os used a sped-up sample from the song for his 2002 single "Heaven Only Knows", from his album Exit.

Although lesser known, the song was also sampled by Usher on his second album My Way in the song "One Day You'll Be Mine". The song is also sampled on the Rhymefest song "All Girls Cheat" from his 2006 album Blue Collar, although the portion of the song used is sung by Mario, and not a sample of the original recording. Alicia Keys heavily sampled it on her song "A Woman's Worth", recorded for her 2005 live album Unplugged. The song was also sampled by Raheem DeVaughn on "Until", a song from his debut album, The Love Experience. Thundercat's "Them Changes" from his 2015 record The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam also quotes the famous drum kit opening of the song.[6] The song was sampled on DaniLeigh's "Do It to Me" from her debut EP The Plan.


Ernie Isley's playing on this track is heavily influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, whose first recording session was actually with the Isley Brothers in 1964 with the track "Testify".[7]

Ernie Isley not only played guitar but also played drums and wrote the lyrics to "Footsteps in the Dark". The verse of the song is written in the key of D-major.

Credits and personnelEdit

Written, composed and arranged by The Isley Brothers
Co-produced by The Isley Brothers, Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff[8]


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (January 1, 2002). "POP REVIEW; Two Brothers Who Are Carrying On the Family Act". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Lipsitz, George (2007). Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music. University of Minnesota Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780816650194.
  3. ^ Sumney, Moses (November 2, 2012). "Alex Isley Has Her Own Thing". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari (May 6, 1997). "A Playful Encounter With the Isley Brothers". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Hyden, Steven (October 25, 2011). "Ice Cube, "It Was A Good Day"". The A.V. Club.
  6. ^ Hirway, Hrishikesh (July 30, 2015). "Episode 45: Thundercat". Song Exploder.
  7. ^ "A Conversation with Ernie Isley of The Isley Brothers". 19 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06.
  8. ^ The Isley Brothers. Go for Your Guns (Album notes). T-Neck / Epic. 1977