Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes RIP

He may not have had a great voice, but Isaac Hayes, who died yesterday aged 65, had a massive influence on 60s soul music and went on to become one of the biggest selling Stax artists. His partnership with David Porter as songwriters for classic Sam and Dave records such as Hold On I'm Coming and When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, and for other Stax artists such as Carla Thomas and Mable John, was one of the cornerstones of the Stax success. Equally important was his contribution as a producer and musician. Recordingwise his peak was his Theme From Shaft, a film that became synonomous with Isaac. I found his gravelly voice rather grating and out of tune yet despite the fact that he murdered, rather than sang, songs such as Walk On By, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Never Can Say Goodbye, they sold in great quantities and retain a weird sort of appeal.

Isaac's debts were one of the causes of the downfall of Stax eventually, but his career continued through the seventies and he appeared in several films and TV shows as the cool black dude with attitude. His deep voice made him a star in the nineties as Chef in South Park, but he lost some popular support when he quit because the show poked fun at Scientologists, of which he was one.
I saw Isaac at Porretta a few years ago and he and his band put on a good show visually, although I have to admit that it was something of an assault on the eardrums. Nevertheless, he was one of the true greats of soul music and we will miss him. RIP Isaac.
Here's how The Independent reported Isaac's death today
An article on Fox News linked his demise to the Scientology movement and raises disturbing questions


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