Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, died yesterday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. He was 65.
A family member found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known.
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.
It was his 1971 album 'Shaft' that shot Hayes to stardom. As the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, the album was the first record by a solo black artist to reach the top of both the R&B and Pop charts, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song and landing three Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe. The album stayed in the charts for 16 months.
"Theme from Shaft", written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, is the soul- and funk-styled theme song to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film "Shaft". The theme was released as a single (shortened and edited from the longer album version) two months after the movie's soundtrack by Stax Records' Enterprise label. "Theme from Shaft" went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in November 1971. The song was also well-received by adult audiences, reaching number six on Billboard's Easy Listening (later Adult Contemporary) chart.
The following year, "Theme from Shaft" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category). Since then, the song has appeared in numerous television shows, commercials, and other movies, including the 2000 remake of Shaft, for which Hayes re-recorded the song without making any changes to it. "Theme from Shaft" is sometimes considered more iconic than the movie for which it was written.
Song: "Theme From Shaft"
From the LP "Shaft" (Music from the Original Soundtrack) (MGM) July 1971
Isaac Hayes - vocals, keyboards, lyrics
Lester Snell - electric piano
James Alexander - bass
Charles Pitts - guitar
Michael Toles - guitar
Willie Hall - drums
Gary Jones - conga drugs
Pat Lewis, Rose Williams, Telma Hopkins
Richard "Johnny" Davis - Lead trumpet
John Fonville - flute
Johnny Allen, J.Alan Johnson - horn/string arrangements
Get it here : Theme From Shaft