Isaac Lee Hayes (born Aug 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee - died Aug 10, 2008, in Memphis, Tennessee) was an influential soul singer, songwriter, musician, producer, arranger, and actor. One of the key creative forces behind Memphis’ Stax Records, Hayes began his recording career in 1962, soon playing saxophone for The Bar-Kays. Hayes and writing partner David Porter would pen numerous hits for Stax artists such as Sam & Dave (“Hold On! I’m Comin’”, “Soul Man”) and Carla Thomas (“B-A-B-Y”) during the mid-1960s.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hayes became famous as a recording artist in his own right, scoring with critically and commercially successful albums such as Hot Buttered Soul and Black Moses. Hayes is best known today for composing the score to the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft. That film’s “Theme from Shaft” was one of the best-selling singles in Stax Records history, and Hayes became the first African-American to win an Oscar for a non-acting category when “Theme from Shaft” won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Song.
Isaac Hayes may be known to today’s youngest generation as the voice of the character “Chef”, the ladies’ man/school cook, on the animated sitcom South Park from 1997 until his resignation from the show in March 2006. While Hayes’ departure was tagged to a controversial South Park episode on Scientology that had supposedly offended him, Hayes rarely declared anything about the departure in first person.
Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. Hayes is also a 2002 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The hit song "Soul Man", written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, 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. During the late 1960s, Hayes also began recording music and he had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971). In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.
He was well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the "Theme from Shaft", he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.
In recognition of his humanitarian work there Hayes was crowned honorary king of the Ada, Ghana region in 1992. He 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 (1974–1980). From 1997 to 2005, he lent his distinctive, deep voice to the character "Chef" on the animated TV series South Park. His influences were Percy Mayfield, Big Joe Turner, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and psychedelic soul groups like The Chambers Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone.
On August 5, 2003, Hayes was honored as a BMI Icon at the 2003 BMI Urban Awards for his enduring influence on generations of music makers. Throughout his songwriting career, Hayes received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Pop Awards, two BMI Urban Awards and six Million-Air citations. As of 2008, his songs generated more than 12 million performances.
Isaac died 10 days shy of his 66th birthday.
Isaac's first songwriting parnter was Dave potter. Their songs included "Soul Man", "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby", and "Hold On I'm Comin".
Isaac appeared in the movie "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."
Last South Park episode as Chef was actually the episode BEFORE "Trapped in the Closet." In "Return of Chef," Matt and Trey take clips of his voice and glue them together.
Isaac Hayes's name in Ghana is Nene Katey Ocansey I.
Isaac is the founder of the Isaac Hayes Foundation, which is dedicated to helping the vulnerable population.
He contributed to Beavis and Butt-Head Do America movie soundtrack for "Two Cool Guys".
Isaac Hayes has been sampled over 200 times by various artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Destiny's Child, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., and Ice Cube.
Isaac Hayes does the voice of Chef in all of the South Park games.
Isaac Hayes was honored as BMI ICON at the 3rd Annual Urban Awards.
Isaac Hayes has published cookbooks, like his book Cooking with Heart & Soul.
Isaac Hayes has released over 20 albums.
When Isaac Hayes guest starred in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the episode played the Shaft theme song, which was played by Isaac Hayes.
Isaac Hayes did the voice of the possum in the movie Dr. Dolittle 2.
He had appeared in a commercial for Lay's Chips.
Isaac quit his job in March of 2006 voicing "Chef" on South Park because South Park made fun of Scientology, which it is a religion he believes in.
He was married to a woman named Mignon Harley up until 1986.
He filed for bankruptcy in 1976.
He is known as 'The Black Moses'.
He dropped out of high school but went back due to support from his former teachers. He ended up getting his high school diploma at the age of 21.
He was raised by his grandparents.
He is a Scientologist.
He was put into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
He was the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Original Song for the theme of Shaft in 1972.
Theme From Shaft