Isaac Hayes Dead at 65

Remembering Isaac Hayes by Gary A. Johnson

August 10, 2008 – Music legend Isaac Hayes, the Academy and Grammy award winning singer, songwriter and musician was found dead at his home according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He was 65.

A family member reportedly found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the 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.

Most young people know of Isaac Hayes as the voice of “Chef” on the TV show “South Park.” They know nothing about his songwriting skills as a pioneer with STAX records and his days as a musician with Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. Isaac Hayes was a bona fide star in 1969 with the release of his album “Hot Buttered Soul.” I can still see his shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses on the front cover. I was only 11 at the time, but I remember the image of his dark-skinned black man taking the music industry by storm.

“Hot Buttered Soul” was one of those albums where you had only 3-4 cuts on one side of the disc. One song was last about 13 minutes. Hayes became a super star with his scoring the music soundtrack for the movie “Shaft” starring Richard Roundtree. The “Theme From Shaft,” hit No. 1 hit in 1971.

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

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.”

In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album “Black Moses” composed film scores for “Truck Turner” besides “Shaft.”

Here’s a video of Isaac Hayes singing Clifton Davis’ classing song “Never Can Say Goodbye.”


2 Responses to “Isaac Hayes Dead at 65”

  1. Hello there!

    It is a shame that Isaac Hayes has passed away…and a day after black people all over the world were just bracing themselves after hearing about the passing of Bernie McCullough…

    At the height of his career, Isaac Hayes represented a different type of black masculinity. He had a lot of mystery about him. Many women found him to be extremely sexy, although he was not the “all-American pretty boy type”…

    I pray that he is resting with God. He was a legend who did not make his people ashamed with any scandals….

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

    *** Please feel welcome to stop by my blog any time and jump into some deep conversations!!

  2. Mr. Bromont Says:

    I was born in the fifties, a child of the sixties, became a adult in the seventies and since the back in the day times to now Mr. Issac Hayes was and is a big part of my personal musical collection. His legacy is with the greats of Soul Rhythm and Blues. Issac Hayes help me through his music have many romantic nights and memories. Thanks Issac Hayes for helping me with the ladies I have been with. You will be missed, but thank you for the legacy you leave. Peace and blessings be with you and all.

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