It's Your Thing

"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.

"It's Your Thing"
Single by The Isley Brothers
from the album It's Our Thing
ReleasedFebruary 16, 1969
RecordedJanuary 1969
StudioA&R Studios, New York City
LabelT-Neck: TN 901
Producer(s)The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers singles chronology
"Put Yourself in My Place"
"It's Your Thing"
"I Turned You On"
Official Audio
"It's Your Thing" on YouTube

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 No. 420 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.



After scoring one popular hit with the label, with the song "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 British 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 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 reactionEdit

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 No. 2 on the former, (behind Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension),[1] and marking their first No. 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.

Chart historyEdit

Cover versions and legacyEdit

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

  • A version was recorded by Memphis soul singer Ann Peebles for her 1969 debut album This Is Ann Peebles.
  • Saxophonist Lou Donaldson recorded an instrumental version on his 1969 album Hot Dog.[11]
  • 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 [12] 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.[13]
  • 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".
  • Led Zeppelin would often perform an instrumental of the song in a medley format with "Communication Breakdown". Led Zeppelin included a four-bar snippet during the opening song sequence of their Playhouse Theater performance on June 27, 1969.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart".
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 54.
  3. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  4. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 70" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Official Charts Company". 1969-07-01. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 10, 1969
  8. ^ "RPM Top Singles of 1969". Library and Archives Canada. RPM. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 27, 1969". Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Hot Dog - Lou Donaldson | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic".
  12. ^ "SpecialRelease". Record Store Day. April 16, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "SpecialRelease". Record Store Day. April 16, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  14. ^ Prisencolinensinainciusol (with lyrics) on YouTube
  15. ^ "Samples of It's Your Thing by Lou Donaldson". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  16. ^ "WALK THE MOON to Release 'Different Colors' EP". ABC News Radio. December 3, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  17. ^ ""Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" Zoey's Extraordinary Failure (TV Episode 2020) - IMDb".

External linksEdit