Theme From Shaft – Isaac Hayes – 1971

Isaac Hayes - Theme from Shaft - 1971Supposed to be an album track only, Isaac Hayes’ 1971 hit Theme From Shaft was released as a single and  went straight to #1, winning him an Academy Award.

song writing

Best known for the hit Theme From Shaft, Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was a songwriter and record producer of some renown – in 2005, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Of note were the songs he co-wrote for Sam and Dave:

  • 1966: Hold On, I’m Comin’
  • 1967: When Something is Wrong with My Baby
  • 1967: Soul Man

The last song on that list was recognised by the Grammy Hall of Fame as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years.

song recording

During the late 1960s, Isaac released a number of solo soul albums and began writing movie scores.

enter shaft

The best known of his musical scores is the Academy Award winning, Theme From Shaft. In fact, in 1972, Isaac became just the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any field, and (I believe) the first to win for music.

He also won two Grammy’s that year. He won a third Grammy for his album Black Moses.

isaac rip

Isaac died on August 10, 2008. He’d suffered a stroke two years before and was thought to have suffered another while exercising on a treadmill.  He was found deceased on the floor, the treadmill still going next to him.

isaac trivia

Isaac was the voice of Chef on South Park.

theme from shaft fax

  • Theme from Shaft was written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971 – the theme to the movie Shaft.
  • There are two versions; the album version and the shortened single version.
  • Theme from Shaft hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1971. It peaked at #4 on the UK singles chart.
  • Theme from Shaft won the Best Original Song Oscar in 1971. It was the first time the award was presented for a song written and performed by the same person.
  • Isaac only agreed to write and record the Shaft score after the movie’s producer promised him an audition for the lead role—he never got to audition, but wrote the music anyway.
  • Theme From Shaft was considered rather risqué in 1971. In fact, even in 1990, censors thought it too risqué to be sung on The Simpsons, until it was demonstrated that the song had indeed been played on television before).
  • Isaac re-recorded Theme From Shaft for the 2000 movie sequel.
  • Theme From Shaft has featured (or been parodied) on a number of television shows including: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, Scrubs, The X-Files, Father Ted,
  • A cover version of Theme From Shaft was released by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jay-Z sampled it on his track Reservoir Dogs.
  • Theme From Shaft lyrics

theme from shaft – isaac hayes – 1971 – video – recorded live 1973

theme from shaft – Isaac hayes – 1971 – movie opening

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