Say It's Your Birthday: Isaac Hayes

Today is the birthday of Isaac Hayes, who is best known

for his hit, "Theme From Shaft," which topped the charts in October of 1971.

Also known for his soulful organ playing, Hayes played a hugely influential

role in shaping the music of the '60s and '70s, as a producer with Stax-Volt,

where he helped shaped the Memphis Sound. Born on this day in a small town in

Tennessee, raised by his sharecropper grandparents. Hayes was extremely musical

as a child, singing in church and learning piano and saxophone as a teenager. A

gig with the Mar-Keys led to his association with Stax-Volt, where he served as

an in-house keyboardist and writer, teaming with lyricist David Porter on such

hits as "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Coming" for Sam and Dave. By the late

'60s, Hayes was recording his own material, which was marked by long,

exploratory jams that incorporated funk riffs and improvisation; 1969's Hot,

Buttered Soul was a prime example of this approach. Hayes continued his

recording career through the '70s, and his biggest hit was 1971's "Theme From

Shaft," the theme song to the black-private-dick movie of the same name. By the

late '70s, Hayes, despite attempting a number of comebacks, had faded from the

music scene. Other birthdays: DeBarge's Randy DeBarge (1958). --Seth Mnookin