Artist picture of Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

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Biography

Closely associated with the Stax label and the theme music of the movie Shaft, Isaac Hayes' feel for infectious and innovative dance music made him one of black music's most influential acts. The son of a poor share-cropping family, he was raised by his grandparents, began singing at his local church and taught himself to play piano, organ, flute and saxophone. He started performing in clubs in the late 1950s and began his recording career in the early 1960s as a session musician at Stax Records, writing a string of hit songs such as Soul Man, When Somethin' Is Wrong With My Baby and Hold On I'm Comin' with David Porter for various Stax acts - notably Sam And Dave. Hayes released his own largely improvised, jazz-influenced debut LP Presenting Isaac Hayes in 1968 and although it flopped, his second Hot Buttered Soul in 1969 helped establish him as an original talent. His masterpiece, however, came in 1971 with his music for the blaxploitation movie Shaft - in which he also had a cameo role. With his captivating wah-wah guitar, bluesy funk, growly voice and innovative symphonic arrangement, the title track became a worldwide Number 1 hit, and was followed by the double album Black Moses. He later recorded a live album of duets with Dionne Warwick and appeared in a variety of movies, returning to music in 1995 with the Branded album. Hayes also provided the voice of Chef in cartoon TV series South Park, resulting in a UK Number 1 hit with his song from the show, Chocolate Salty Balls. He died suddenly after apparently suffering a stroke in 2008.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved