Soul legend Isaac Hayes dies

August 11th, 2008 - 6:15 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Aug 11 (DPA) Soul legend Isaac Hayes, who laid the foundations for disco and rap, was found dead Sunday near a treadmill at his home in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 65, the police said. The cause of death was not immediately known but foul play was ruled out.

Famous for his 1971 track “Theme From Shaft”, Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tennessee, he was raised by his grandparents after both his parents died and started singing in church at the age of five. He later taught himself to play the piano, organ, flute and saxophone.

His recording career began in the early 1960s as a session player at the pioneering studio Stax Record, where he quickly became an integral part of the company’s hit production team.

His first solo album “Presenting Isaac Hayes” came in 1967 and was not a hit. But he had a smash with “Hot Buttered Soul” in 1968 with long funky tracks that were a radical break with the three-minute pop song.

His spoken word introductions to the songs are seen by many pop historians as a precursor to rap, while his rhythmic orchestrations paved the way for disco music. His image also set a new fashion - bald head, massive gold jewelry and sunglasses.

His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, on the animated TV show “South Park”, but he quit the show in 2006 after an episode mocked his Scientology religion.

Hayes had been married four times and had 12 children.

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