08/11/08 - R.I.P. - Issac Hayes

Tutelage Led By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, August 11, 2008


August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008

Over the weekend we lost a great American musical icon. Isaac Hayes was found dead in his home here in the suburbs of Memphis, TN on Sunday afternoon. He was found next to a still operating treadmill and it appears he suffered a simultaneous heart attack and stroke.
Mr. Hayes suffered a stroke in 2006.

A police spokesman said last night: "Family members believe it is a medical condition that might have led to his death. Mr Hayes was being treated for a number of medical issues." He was 65 years young.

Born August 20, 1942 in Covington, Tennessee, Hayes' beginnings with his sharecropper family were never far from his mind. He eventually bought an estate in East Memphis overlooking the same cotton fields where he grew up.

He began singing in church at age five and in high school caught the attention of a guidance counselor who persuaded him to enter a talent show.
"When I finished, the house was on its feet, man, and I was a hit ... So I started pursuing music big time," Hayes said on his official website.

He was renowned for his characteristic baritone voice and mastery of several instruments, including the saxophone and the piano.

After graduating high school in 1962 and winning seven college scholarships for vocal music, Hayes turned down higher education to launch his music with Stax Records, where he worked with some of Rhythm and Blues biggest names at the time, including Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and Booker T & the MG's.

Hayes became Stax's rising star starting in 1966, and over the next few years some 200 Hayes-David Porter compositions became standards.

His career took off in 1969 with the landmark Hot Buttered Soul album, which stayed on the pop chart for 81 weeks and forced the music industry, for the first time, to conceive of soul music as an album art form.

At the time of emerging Black Power and with the death of Martin Luther King as a conscience building experience, Hayes transformed his image into a revolutionary statement, dressing in black leather, draping his bare chest in rows of gold chains and shaving his head completely.

Hayes also acted in scores of movies and television series. His guest star appearances included TV shows "The Rockford Files" and "Miami Vice." He also appeared in feature films such as "Escape from New York" and "Hustle & Flow."

But of course Mr. Hayes is best known for two projects. His career-defining soundtrack for the 1971 movie "Shaft," for which Hayes picked up an Oscar, three Grammy awards, a Golden Globe award, and an Edison award, Europe's highest music honor, and then for a new generation, the voice of "Chef" on the animated TV show "South Park".

Hayes left the show after the the episode "Trapped In A Closet", which lambasted the Church of Scientology to which Mr. Hayes belonged.

A brilliant writer, musician and singer, Mr. Hayes put his stamp on the music industry of the 70's and 80's and paved the road for the R&B and Rap artists of the 80's, 90's and into this century. His influence will be felt for years to come.