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Well it's a sad day in the music world again as we mourn the death of Mr. Isaac Hayes. Hayes passed away just the other day at the age of 65.
Known primarily for what is easily his most recognizable song, "Theme from Shaft", Hayes had a long career in the music industry and his influence can be felt far and wide. Beginning as a session player, backup pianist and saxophonist working with greats like Otis Redding, Hayes went on to pen a number of soul classics for Sam Moore and Dave Prater, including "Soul Man". His own take on soul music was far different though with stretched out songs, rap prefaces and a style that was smooth, cool and all his own. His influence can be heard in genres as diverse as disco, funk, soul, hip-hop, R&B and even modern rock and roll.
I'll admit that outside of a the "Theme from Shaft" I wasn't too familiar with the work of Isaac Hayes. That may be the case with a lot of people out there and although that song is probably not his "best" work, it's certainly a great song... it did earn him a Grammy and has subsequently gone on to become an instantly recognizable part of pop culture.
Hearing the news of his passing though, I couldn't help but feel that he was being trivialized so much by being reduced to just "the writer of the Theme from Shaft" in my mind. This thought in my mind I decided to take a much needed, deeper look into the work of Isaac Hayes and I though that you should too. There's such a style and uniqueness to his music that 1) fits in perfectly with the time it was written (the late 60s and 70s...especially the 70s) and 2) is completely ahead of it's time... something that may seem like a contradiction, but actually seems like a good description. There's hints of disco, jazz, soul, rap, blues and so much more all rolled up in this funky, slick and stylish exterior that just fits so well with Hayes' unique baritone vocal delivery.
The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll humbly passes along condolences to the friends and family of Isaac Hayes, as well as to all of his fans and really the entire music world... because in these past few days, we have certainly lost one great musical talent.
So, in tribute to Isaac Hayes, lets take a listen to some of the smoothest music ever made... even if it is "Theme from Shaft"... that's a great place to start, but take some time to check out the rest of his work too.