Isaac Hayes Photography

Isaac Hayes

Long before he was a solo artist and actor, Isaac Hayes was writing songs, serving as a session musician and producing for Stax Records—including the Sam & Dave smash “Soul Man.” By the late 1960s, he went solo with powerful albums like Hot Buttered Soul and Black Moses that propelled this influential and flamboyant figure to global stardom.

Attention continued to mount as Hayes penned the funk standard “Theme From Shaft” (for the 1971 film of the same name), which took home two Grammy Awards and an Academy Award for the best original song. This momentum allowed his recording and touring career to flourish throughout the remainder of the decade right up through his final recordings in 1995.

All the while, Hayes maintained a prominent presence as an actor in movies such as Truck Turner and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, plus TV shows such as The Rockford Files and voicing Chef on South Park. Following a stroke in 2008, the world lost a legend at just 65, though he’s forever enshrined as an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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