This guest post is by Tom Cooney of a.tom.called.cooney.

Isaac Hayes was born on August 20, 1942 in Covington Tennessee.  He is best known for his musical score of the film “Shaft” for which he was awarded an Academy Award in 1971.  The single was also #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for 2 weeks that same year.  Hayes is also known as the voice of Chef on the popular animated series South Park during the late 90’s.

After the deaths of label mates Otis Reading and 5 members of the Bar-Kays in separate plane crash incidents, Hayes was released from Stax Records and started his own record label entitled Hot Buttered Soul. Although Hayes achieved greatness as a singer/songwriter throughout the 60’s and 70’s, (he was also the co-owner of the ABA team The Memphis Sounds) record sales fell dramatically on the new label and he and his wife eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1976.  By the end of the bankruptcy proceedings in 1977, Hayes had lost his home, much of his personal property, and the rights to all future royalties earned from the music he’d written, performed, and produced.  In other words, he got “Shafted”.  Over the years, Isaac Hayes was able to recover financially.

Hayes also has been featured in over 30 movies and TV shows including some of my favorites; Escape from New York, Truck Turner, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and CB4.

Several hip hop artists such as Public Enemy, DJ Quik, Compton’s Most Wanted, Biggie, Biz, Markie, The Alkaholiks, and MF Doom have sampled Isaac Hayes’ music.   One of my favorite joints from back in the day is “Neva Go Back” by Special Ed.  Probably because it samples on of my favorite Isaac Hayes songs, “Look of Love”.  Some other classics include; “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”, “Walk On By”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, and “A Few More Kisses To Go”.

Sadly, Isaac Hayes died on August 10, 2008 at the age of 65 of an apparent stroke.  He has left an impression on us all as a singer, songwriter, musician and actor.  Of Hayes’ work, ‘American Masters’ creator and executive producer Susan Lacy stated. “He was cool before it was cool to be cool!  He left us a storehouse of classics, pure poetry that will live forever because they are, quite simply, among the greatest songs ever sung.”




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