Black Moses, Sex Machine to all the chicks, or that bloke warbling on about salty balls….there can only be one Isaac Hayes. His death was announced today in 2008.
Isaac Lee Hayes Junior aka Isaac Hayes died at the age of 65 following a stroke. Growing up in Memphis, he graduated towards the Stax Studios and worked there as a session musician supplying piano and saxophone on recordings by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.
Penning songs in collaboration with David Porter of the aforementioned duo, the success of material such as “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming” saw him gain a recording contract with the label and his debut album, “Presenting Isaac Hayes” emerged in 1968.
However it would be the following year’s follow-up that propelled Hayes to solo stardom, “Hot Buttered Soul” containing just four tracks, including extended and reworked soulful covers of “Walk On By” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.”
Fast forward to 1971 and his performance of the Oscar-winning, chart-topping title track to the blaxploitation movie classic “Shaft” lodged Hayes in the public consciousness, aided by his adopted shaven-headed, jewellery-adorned “Black Moses” persona.
Having played a minor role in “Shaft” (a barman), Hayes went on to star in a host of films, while continuing to record with limited success (partly due to record company politics and financial problems). Charity work also became a significant part of his life, specifically spearheading literacy programmes in Africa.
Isaac’s final chart entry came in 1998 as a result of his voiceover work for the character of Jerome “Chef” McElroy.in the cult animation series “South Park”, the immortal “Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)”,
That went down a storm when he performed it at the Glastonbury Festival and reached number one in the UK. However he severed all ties with the programme in 2006 in disgust at their lampooning of Scientology.
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And here’s some footage of Hayes in action: