Born on August 20 1942, Hayes was found unresponsive in his home near Memphis, Tennessee on August 10, 2008, ten days before his 66th birthday. The cause of death was from a stroke.
-----Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was born on August 20, 1942 in Covington, Tennessee. Hayes began singing at the age of five at his local church, and, soon after, he taught himself to play the piano, the Hammond organ, the flute, and the saxophone.
Hayes began his recording career in the early 1960s, as a session player for various acts of the Memphis-based Stax Records. Hayes, with songwriting partner David Porter, wrote a string of hit songs including "You Don't Know Like I Know,” "Soul Man", "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby,” and "Hold On I'm Comin" for Sam & Dave.
Hayes-Porter & the house band Booker T. and The M.g.'s, contributed to the Stax sound made famous during this period. In 1968, Hayes released his debut album, Presenting Isaac Hayes that was commercially unsuccessful.
His next album was Hot Buttered Soul, which was released in 1969 after Stax had gone through a major upheaval. The label had lost its largest star, Otis Redding, in a plane crash in December 1967. Stax lost all of its back catalog to Atlantic Records in May 1968.
As a result, Stax executives called for 27 new albums to be completed in mid-1969; Hot Buttered Soul, was the most successful of these releases. This album is noted for Hayes's image (shaved head, gold jewelry, sunglasses, etc.) and his distinct sound (extended orchestral songs relying heavily on organs, horns, and guitars, deep bass vocals, etc.)
Also on the album, Hayes re-interprets "Walk On By," “By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and the funky "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic"which runs nearly ten minutes. In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.
The hit song "Soul Man,” has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century.
Hayes is perhaps best known for his musical score for the 1971 film Shaft. For the "Theme from Shaft,” he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year.
Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses. In 1992, in recognition of humanitarian work there, he was crowned the honorary king of the Ada, Ghana region. He also acted in motion pictures and television, such as in the movies Truck Turner and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and as Gandolf "Gandy" Fitch in the TV series The Rockford Files from 1974–1980. From 1997 to 2005, he lent his distinctive, deep voice to the character "Chef" on the animated TV series South Park.
Throughout his songwriting career, Hayes received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Pop Awards, two BMI Urban Awards and six Million-Air citations.
In 2005, Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others.
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