Sunday, August 10, 2008


24 hours after the world became a little less funny, it then became a little less SHAFTY with the unexpected loss of one of the entertainment industry's most famed, musical pioneers: Isaac Hayes. I swear, I had absolutely no intention of updating this blog today especially after learning of Bernie Mac's passing. Today I had planned to pop my favorite Bernie Mac movies into my DVD and get my laugh on something proper-like. Well, there's a saying that goes 'if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.' Something told me to get up, log on and check my email; and now, here I sit, at my computer making yet another blog post on the death of another fallen celebrity, who was coincidentally, Bernie Mac's co-star in the new movie Soul Men which also stars Samuel L. Jackson.

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Memphis sheriff's office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes' wife and young son and his wife's cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff's deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived. "The treadmill was running but he was unresponsive lying on the floor," Shular said. Hayes, who was just 10 days shy of his 66th birthday, was pronounced dead early Sunday morning at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis.

The cause of death was not immediately known. Hayes is survived by his fourth wife Adjowa Hayes; their 2-year-old son Nana Kwadjo Hayes; 12 children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Hayes was about to begin work on a new album for Stax, the soul record label he helped build to legendary status. And he had recently finished work on a movie called Soul Men in which he played himself.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap. His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show South Park. The album Hot Buttered Soul made Hayes a star in 1969. His shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses gave him a compelling visual image. Hot Buttered Soul was groundbreaking in several ways: He sang in a "cool" style unlike the usual histrionics of big-time soul singers. He prefaced the song with "raps," and the numbers ran longer than three minutes with lush arrangements. "Jocks would play it at night," Hayes recalled in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "They could go to the bathroom, they could get a sandwich, or whatever."

Next came Theme From Shaft, a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film Shaft starring Richard Roundtree. "That was like the shot heard round the world," Hayes said in the 1999 interview. At the Oscar ceremony in 1972, Hayes performed the song wearing an eye-popping amount of gold and received a standing ovation. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys. "The rappers have gone in and created a lot of hit music based upon my influence," he said. "And they'll tell you if you ask."

Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

"I knew nothing about the business, or trends and things like that," he said. "I think it was a matter of timing. I didn't know what was unfolding." A self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Stax Records of Memphis as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for Otis Redding and others. He also played saxophone. He began writing songs, establishing a songwriting partnership with David Porter, and in the 1960s they wrote such hits for Sam and Dave as Hold On, I'm Coming and Soul Man.

1 Comment:

Yeah, And? said...

What is really going on??!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable.

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