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Daily History

Aug 6 1942 Isaac Hayes born

On August 6th 1942, songwriter, musician and actor Isaac Hayes was born in Covington, Tennessee, the second child of Isaac Hayes, Sr., and Eula Hayes.

It’s a long way indeed from performing onstage at the Academy Awards to portraying a cartoon chef, but that’s the singular journey travelled by the late Isaac Hayes in a remarkable career that included hugely successful work as a singer, songwriter, record producer and actor and a late-career role as an enormously popular cartoon voiceover artist. He was a significant force in popular culture from the mid-1960s until his death in 2008.

Except to those young enough to know him only as the voice of Chef on the animated TV series South Park, Isaac Hayes is most famous for his work as a recording artist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a string of hit albums made him one of the biggest names in soul music. Even before he’d cut a record of his own, though, Hayes had helped establish the very sound of 1960s R&B while working at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee.

As a multi-instrumentalist session musician and the co-writer of such classic hits as Sam and Dave‘s “Soul Man” and “Hold On! I’m Comin” Isaac Hayes put his stamp on the brilliant output of the Stax label. And the success he achieved after moving into the spotlight as a performer in the late 1960s helped save the struggling label from ruin.

With the death of Otis Redding in 1968, the most successful artist in the label’s lineup, Stax badly needed a hit from a new source. That source would be Isaac Hayes, whose second album, Hot Buttered Soul (1969), became a hit on the strength not of any catchy, three-minute singles, but of what would become Hayes’s trademark long-form reinterpretations of hit songs.

Songs like Burt Bacharach’s “Walk On By” and Jimmy Webb‘s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” which clocked in at 12:03 and 18:42, respectively, complete with long spoken monologues and orchestral arrangements. Two subsequent albums in 1970 repeated the formula of Hot Buttered Soul with great success, but it was his decision to compose the score for the 1971 movie Shaft that lifted Hayes to true stardom.

The success of that soundtrack led not only to nearly four more decades in the public eye, but to the unforgettable sight of Isaac Hayes, grandson of sharecroppers, standing shirtless in heavy chains and sunglasses as he performed the #1 pop single “Theme from ‘Shaft'” on national television the night he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Score.

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About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


7 thoughts on “Aug 6 1942 Isaac Hayes born

  1. I loved him as Chef…He’s a great musician and vocalist!!!! Peace Jaz

    Posted by jazfagan | August 6, 2012, 00:03
  2. Always liked Issac Hayes, but a lot of stuff I didn’t know in there, thanks 😉

    Posted by charliecountryboy | August 6, 2012, 00:15
  3. I love Issac Hayes, in honor of his birthday tomorrow, I will post the live in concert performance of “I Stand Accused” it is too wonderful. Craig, what excellent taste you have 😀

    Posted by shafiqah1 | August 6, 2012, 04:22
  4. Reblogged this on shafiqah1 and commented:
    I love Issac Hayes, in honor of his birthday tomorrow, I will post the live in concert performance of “I Stand Accused” it is too wonderful. Craig, what excellent taste you have 😀

    Posted by shafiqah1 | August 6, 2012, 04:23
  5. Was an honour to see him play live at the Forum in London over 8 years.

    Posted by africanherbsman1967 | August 6, 2012, 23:04
  6. Also love him as Shaft – he was the first mean tough black guy on film .. I think. Thanks.

    Posted by viveka | August 7, 2012, 03:40

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