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Isaac Lee Hayes Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor.

Having played music since childhood, he got his start in the industry with Stax Records as a musician and producer, working with famous names like Otis Redding. His first album was released in 1968 to little interest, but his second, Hot Buttered Soul, found major success, establishing Hayes' distinctive sound and dress style.

In 1971, he worked on the soundtrack for Shaft, in which he also cameoed, which found him further success. Taking a hiatus from music through the 1980s, he also began working as an actor, making appearances on a number of television shows (most notably, as Chef from South Park, from 1997-2006) and feature productions. He would return to making music in 1995.

On August 10, 2008, he died from a stroke in his home near Memphis.

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Discography:

  • Presenting Isaac Hayes (1968)
  • Hot Buttered Soul (1969)
  • The Isaac Hayes Movement (1970)
  • ...To Be Continued (1970)
  • Black Moses (1971)
  • Joy (1973)
  • Chocolate Chip (1975)
  • Disco Connection (1975)
  • Groove-A-Thon (1976)
  • Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) (1976)
  • New Horizon (1977)
  • Hotbed - Isaac Hayes Demo Album - Stax Records (1978)
  • For the Sake of Love (1978)
  • Don't Let Go (1979)
  • And Once Again (1980)
  • Lifetime Thing (1981)
  • U-Turn (1986)
  • Love Attack (1988)
  • Raw & Refined (1995)
  • Branded (1995)

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Notable acting roles:

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Tropes related to his works:

  • Blaxploitation: He had both provided music and had acting roles in these sorts of films.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: About half of Theme from Shaft is the instrumental opening. Since this song isn't very long, there isn't much time left for actual lyrics.
  • Epic Rocking: Every cut off his Hot Buttered Soul album qualifies. Particularly noteworthy are his covers of Walk on By (12:03) and By the Time I Get to Phoenix (18:42).
  • Pop-Star Composer: Isaac provided the soundtracks to a few Blaxploitation films, the most famous being Shaft.
  • Sampling: His work has been sampled several times by other artists. He himself would occasionally sample from other people's work.
  • Spoken Word in Music: The album Hot Buttered Soul featured a cover of By the Time I Get to Phoenix that turned this trope into an art form. The song itself follows a man, having just left his wife, describing what he thinks she will be doing as he reaches certain destinations by car. Hayes turned this three-minute country song into an eighteen-minute soul epic, including an eight-minute spoken introduction of how the man came to his decision to leave his wife.
  • Theme Tune: Isaac provided the theme tune to the short lived television show The Men.

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