Sunday, 10 August 2008

R.I.P. Issac Hayes

Isaac Hayes, the great Memphis singer/composer who helped make Stax-Volt a major record label in the '60s and '70s and whose extended oeuvres of soul and r & b hits made himself a household name for the last several decades., was pronounced dead Sunday at Baptist Memorial Hospital East, the Flyer has learned.

The singer was reportedly found unconscious in his Memphis home early Sunday by his wife, who called an ambulance.

The 65-year-old Hayes, who had been in declining health for some time, had nevertheless continued to be an active presence not only musically but in assorted civic activities.

Along with co-composer David Porter, he was the creative eminence behind many of the Stax-Volt label's early hits, and Hayes became a successful singer in his own right with such albums as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971) . He also scored several films, including Shaft, for which he won an Academy Award. He would accumulate three Grammy awards during his career and was a member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hayes also involved himself in a number of social causes, becoming prominent in the Scientology movement. Like numerous other musical artists, he went in and out of difficult economic phases during the course of his career, but never quite retired and could still electrify audiences in his increasingly rare public appearances.