Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes Died Today at Age 65

I can't believe this. Two of our talented entertainers have passed in two days. Yesterday, I reported Bernie Mac's death at age 50, and today I just learned that Isaac Hayes, renowned composer and songwriter who won an Oscar for the score of the movie Shaft, was pronounced dead at 2:08 p.m. today in Memphis, Tenn., per WMC-TV News. Hayes' wife found him dead on the floor near the treadmill, according to an MTV article.

Coincidentally, Hayes was scheduled to appear in an upcoming production with the late Bernie Mac, reports the Memphis TV station.
According to Hayes' official Web site, the music icon was set to play himself in a musical comedy starring comedian Bernie Mac, who died Saturday. (WMC-TV)
I grew up in New Orleans, but I was born in Memphis, Tenn. My parents moved back to New Orleans when I was a baby, but while in Memphis they owned a house and lived next door to a teacher who taught Hayes. I always felt a tiny personal connection to Hayes because of my birth town.

However, I was also a fan of his music. Hayes not only won an Oscar for Shaft, but also won Grammy awards for the score and another classic.
In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album "Black Moses" and earned a nickname he reluctantly embraced. Hayes composed film scores for "Tough Guys" and "Truck Turner" besides "Shaft." He also did the song "Two Cool Guys" on the "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" movie soundtrack in 1996. (CBS News)
The Shaft theme is a classic, synonymous with cool bad ass, and about two years ago I made a point of replacing my vinyl copy with a CD. I used to have a clip of "Do Your Thing," another song from the Shaft score posted with a poem at AuthorsDen. And yes, I'm old enough to recall his music played frequently on the radio. Read more about Hayes' career at CBS.

The man was a musical genius, but he also showed up in movies and television shows from time to time. As the MTV story points out, he experienced an unexpected return to the spotlight doing the voice of Chef on Southpark. However, Hayes quit the show when it took a poke at his spiritual beliefs. He was a Scientologist.

One thing I did not know about Hayes is that he was the father to 12 children and grandfather to 14, according to Wikipedia, the often accurate but equally often questionable information site.

Here's a link to Isaac Hayes' official website. And here's a clip of him performing Shaft live. Yes, that's Jesse Jackson introducing him.

These two deaths remind me of how James Brown died on Christmas Day 2006 and less than 48 hours later, former president Gerald Ford passed on. Also, I remember that journalist Ed Bradley died in November 2006 and Jack Palance died a few days later. However, none of these people had a connection to one another like Hayes had with Mac, actually being scheduled to work together in an upcoming play.

May Isaac and Bernie both rest in peace. We were blessed to see them and experience their special talents.

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2 comments: said...

Hello there!

It is a shame that Isaac Hayes has passed away...and a day after black people all over the world were just bracing themselves after hearing about the passing of Bernie McCullough...

At the height of his career, Isaac Hayes represented a different type of black masculinity. He had a lot of mystery about him. Many women found him to be extremely sexy, although he was not the "all-American pretty boy type"...

I pray that he is resting with God.

He was a legend who did not make his people ashamed with any scandals...a lovely brotha...

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Vérité Parlant said...

Definitely not the pretty boy type, but definitely appealing. He had presence. He's gone but he left us many gifts.

Thanks for using Bernie's full name. :-)