HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISAAC HAYES!
Today, August 20, 2013, we are remembering the late musical genius, philantrhopist, Stax legend, composer, singer, songwriter, actor, and more..... the one and only Isaac Hayes on his birthday. He is the man who paved the way for thousands of others to make their way in the music industry and in life.
Here is a bit more about "Black Moses."
When Isaac Hayes came into the world on August 20, 1942 in the miniscule, rural town of Rialto, Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, the worlds of music and popular culture had no idea what he would do to change them forever.
Born to a poor sharecropper family and orphaned as an infant, he and his sister Willette were raised by their maternal grandparents, Willie and Rushia Addie-Mae Wade. Although poor economically, Hayes always said life was good. At the age of seven, Hayes’ family moved to Memphis to seek new opportunities, but Willie’s health began to fail and he died when Hayes was just 11 years old. Times were harder than ever for Hayes and his family, and he began picking cotton on the outskirts of Memphis, mowing lawns, delivering groceries and firewood, and even shining shoes on Beale Street.
While attending Manassas High School in North Memphis, Hayes was a singer in several groups, performing gospel with the Morning Stars, doo-wop with Sir Isaac & the Doo-Dads, the Teen Tones, and the Ambassadors; and jazz with the Ben Branch house band at the famed Curry’s Club Tropicana in North Memphis.
Hayes graduated from Manassas in 1962, the same year that the hits started rolling out of Stax Records, which was housed in the old converted Capitol Theater at the corner of College Street and McLemore Avenue in Memphis. After being rejected twice after auditioning for the label as a studio musician, he finally got his foot in the door that year. Soon thereafter, he teamed up with Stax songwriter David Porter the two– and Stax – were never the same.
Among the 200 or so songs Hayes and Porter wrote, arranged, and produced in the early years of their relationship were such mega hits as Sam & Dave’s “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” “I Thank You,” “Wrap It Up,” the R&B Grammy winning “Soul Man,” and “Hold On! I’m Comin.’”
In 1969, Hayes embarked on a solo career when he recorded his first album for Stax, Presenting Isaac Hayes, which was recorded live one evening in the studio after a company Christmas party. He followed that album with the groundbreaking LP, Hot Buttered Soul in 1969. It was unlike anything the music world had ever heard and would change the way music was recorded forever. The LP contained just four songs: a remake of the Burt Bachrach/Dione Warwick hit “Walk on By” at 12-plus minutes, his funky Hyperbolicsyllabicsquedalymistic at 9-plus minutes, “One Woman” at a mere 5-plus minutes, and a cover of Glenn Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” at a staggering 18-plus minutes. It made the music industry stand up and take notice of soul music, this particular artist’s soul music, as an album art form. It skyrocketed to Number One on the Billboard R&B chart for 10 weeks and stayed on the Pop chart for 81 weeks.
If Hayes’ groundbreaking Hot Buttered Soul cemented his image in the music world as the definitive soul music renegade, what came next was nothing short of life changing. Although he had scored big in 1970 with The Isaac Hayes Movement LP (7 weeks at Number One on the charts with the song “I Stand Accused”) and …To Be Continued (11 weeks at Number One with “Ike’s Rap”), it was his smash hit film score LP Shaft that garnered him an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Theme From Shaft.” It was the first LP in history by a black solo artist to hit Number One on both the Pop and R&B charts and it won a Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, and a Grammy. Hayes was the first African-American ever to receive the Oscar for music and only the third African-American in history to win an Oscar.
After the immense success of Shaft, Hayes recorded a string of additional hit albums on Stax/Enterprise label before the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 1975. He then formed his own record company, HBS, on which he recorded four albums that all reached the top 20 on the charts, including three disco-influenced LPs and a live double LP with good friend Dionne Warwick. He continued recording, but from the early 1980s until just two years before his death on August 10, 2008, Hayes also concentrated on his film and television career, appearing in more than 60 movies and television shows, including his famed 10-year role as the character “Chef” on South Park.
In addition to Hayes’ tremendous career as an entertainer, Hayes was an avid philanthropist. In 1991, after he visited Ghana and toured the Elmina slave castles, he was so moved by the experience that he felt he needed to do more work there. As he set about traveling across America speaking of the need for better education in Africa, Ghanaian officials make him an honorary king of the country. They also gave Hayes an island, thinking he would build a home there, but instead built an 8,000-square-foot-school, NekoTech, which opened in 1998 and focuses on literacy, education, computer technology, and other modern ways to help underprivileged young people in the region. He later formed the Isaac Hayes Foundation, which, even after his death, continues to focus on issues of literacy, health, education, and the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, which is located at the original site of Stax Records adjacent to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.