Tuesday, August 12, 2008

RIP Isaac Hayes

I feel I should set up a “RIP” category on this blog because in just three months of its inception, I’ve had to post a few notable condolences on some remarkable individuals. So here I was Sunday evening, about 36 hours after the tragic news of Bernie Mac, I learned while driving, the Black Moses, Isaac Hayes had passed.

A little history here: As a little girl, my parents owned the “Shaft” videotape as part of their expansive movie collection and as an adult, I owned a copy of my own. The iconic theme from the movie is recognizable around the world and in my humble opinion, was part of the reason that movie became a part of pop-culture.

But Shaft’s theme with all its deserving accolades of a top spot on the Billboards, Oscar and a Grammy wasn’t my favorite song from the movie’s soundtrack. It was “Soulsville.” For me, Soulsville gave the listener the essence of Hayes one-of-a-kind rich smooth buttery voice. It mixed the blues and soul to describe the conditions of the land at the times, which ironically are still present today. But at the end of the song, Hayes still gave the listener a sense of hope with the remarkable words “trust in the Lord, He’ll make a way.” Listen to the complete song here:

Soulsville provided a balance of substance to the sexy side of Shaft’s theme. You get to see the great ones know how to juxtapose both sides (i.e. sexy and substance) with such ease. Whether it’s Marvin Gaye’s crooning “Let’s Get It On” to asking “What’s Going On?” Hayes showed he was in the company of the greats with his remarkable contribution to the arts and he will surely be missed.

Now for a proper send-off, let me share what I think is the best Oscar performance since it was groundbreaking at the time . . . The Black Moses himself performing the theme from Shaft, which later won the Oscar that night.

Update: I couldn't find the original Oscar's performance (I guess the Oscars own the complete rights), but the above video is a close second.

Tags: Isaac Hayes, Shaft, Black Moses, Isaac Hayes Death