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Isaac Hayes

ISSAC HAYES, dubbed “Black Moses” during the height of his popularity, revolutionized soul music, leading it out of the era of the three-minute single into two new areas—the completely-orchestrated concept album with extended cuts and the black motion picture soundtrack.

Hot Buttered Soul, released on the Enterprise label in 1969, contained only four cuts. It not only became the first album to go gold for Stax Records, it hit platinum.

The soundtrack from the 1971 motion picture Shaft was Hayes’s fourth consecutive platinum LP and the “Theme from Shaft” earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Hayes began his recording career in 1962, cutting a couple of sides. They were flops and the poverty continued until he met insurance salesman David Porter. 

Hayes began playing piano on sessions for Stax Records, while he and Porter wrote and produced songs for such Stax/Volt artists as Johnnie Taylor, Mabel John, Carla Thomas, and, particularly, Sam and Dave. The Sam Moore-Dave Prater singing duo joined the Isaac Hayes-David Porter songwriting/producing duo to form a team that wouldn’t stop making hits—”You Don’t Know Like I Know,” “Hold On! I’m Comin’,” “You Got Me Hummin’,” “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby,” “Soul Man,”, and “I Thank You.”

His second album, Hot Buttered Soul was something altogether different—a husky, very masculine baritone rapping and crooning intimately against a massive backdrop of strings and horns from the Memphis Symphony and a solid backbeat by the Bar-Kays.

Other classic albums followed—The Isaac Hayes Movement, To Be Continued, Shaft (a two-disc set), Black Moses, and Joy.

Isaac Hayes had become soul music’s first superhero. He was a young black man who had risen from poverty to prove he could do everything musically—sing, play (keyboards, vibes, alto sax), produce, compose, arrange, and score motion pictures.