Issac Hayes

  • Born in Memphis, 1942. Died in 2008 of a stroke, aged 65.
  • Released 21 studio albums between 1968 and 1995.
  • Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Won an Academy Award and Grammy Award for the song Theme From Shaft in 1972. He also won 2 Grammy Awards. In 2020, he was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.
  • Hayes was a co-writer to the song Soul Man, originally by Sam & Dave, and made famous again by the Blues Brothers.
  • He was in numerous movies and TV shows. Most notably, Hayes was the voice of Chef in 136 episodes of South Park, as well as a South Park movie and video games. Hayes quit the show after 9 seasons, after several episodes where the show made fun of scientology. Hayes was an active scientologist.
  • Theme From Shaft was one of the earliest songs that I loved. Super funky sound, and the guitar intro with the wah-wah effect is fabulous. I remember the controversy from the lyrics: “Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” And: “…You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother – Shut your mouth….” Shocking in 1971, not so much 50 years later. Here’s a live version of the song, performed at Glastonbury in 2002. This was such a cool song!

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