Isaac Hayes: Film Score Composer (and Voice Over Comedian)

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 10, 2008 in Cinema |


Here was a life story that should inspire us all: Born in 1942 Isaac Hayes started his life in extreme poverty: His parents died when he was young and he grew up picking cotton in Covington, Tennessee. His first public performance was at the age of five singing at a local church — and soon after that he taught himself how to play multiple instruments including everything from a piano to a saxophone.

With some hard work Isaac landed work as a session player at Stax Records the legendary rhythm and blues label. He then tried his hand at song writing and scored a number of hits — and by the mid-60s he became part of the main production team. In 1967 he released his debut record Presenting Isaac Hayes and failed badly. Making matters worse Otis Redding the main star of Stax died in a plane crash the same year. That’s where most people’s career in the music business would end, but for Isaac Hayes it was the only the start.

In 1969 he came back with Hot Buttered Soul which features all the trademark sounds and images that Hayes has been known for: Heavy usage of horns, organs, guitars and his deep vocals accessorized by his shaved head and gold jewelry. In early 1971 he was tapped to do the soundtrack for a low budget blaxploitation film called Shatf which would go on to make history — and when most of America got to discover Hayes. Here’s a short video from that period of him playing music from the film:

Over the years that followed Hayes would have ups and downs but he never gave in always being true to his talent and above all else the music. What’s amazing was that in addition to the music he also did quite a bit of acting over the years — you can see him in bit parts from everything from the TV series The Rockford Files to the Escape from New York. And of course most folks know and loved Hayes for his role in the animated comedy series South Park:

Isaac we’ll miss you — and thank you for your great music which has inspired so many…

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