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Isaac Hayes

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Isaac Hayes


Isaac Hayes (20 August 1942, Covington, Tenn. – 10 August 10, 2008, Memphis, Tenn.) was an American soul singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and voice artist.

His mother died young, and his father soon abandoned his 2 children soon thereafter. Isaac and his brother were raised by his maternal grandparents. He played saxophone in the band and sang in the glee club in junior high. Finally completing high school at the age of 21, he was offered several scholarships from colleges and universities. Hayes turned them all down as he had obligations to provide for his family. He worked at a meat packing plant in Memphis, and played in night clubs in the evenings.

Hayes began his recording career in the early 1960s, as a session player for various acts of the Memphis-based Stax Records. His first musical hits, Walk on By and By the Time I Get to Phoenix, were followed by the theme from the film Shaft, which earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Grammy Awards.

During the late 1990s, Hayes gained new popularity as the voice of Chef on the Comedy Central animated television series South Park. Chef was a soul-singing cafeteria worker for South Park Elementary.

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