Dead, Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. on August 10, 2008 at the age of 65, he was an American soul singer, actor, and producer.
Born in Covington, Tennessee, in Tipton County on August 20, 1942, he was the second child of Eula (née Wade) and Isaac Hayes, Sr. The hit song “Soul Man”, written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame.
It was also honoured by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century.
During the late 1960s, Hayes also began recording music and he had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971).
In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.
Hayes dropped out of high school, but his former teachers at Manassas High School in Memphis encouraged him to complete his diploma, which he did at age 21.
After graduating from high school, Hayes was offered several music scholarships from colleges and universities.
He turned down all of them to provide for his immediate family, working at a meat-packing plant in Memphis by day and playing nightclubs and juke joints several evenings a week in Memphis and nearby northern Mississippi.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. In a CNN interview at the time, Hayes credited his success to “adjusting and constantly evolving, expanding and trying to stay as young as I can.”
Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill, said Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.
In 1995, Hayes appeared as a Las Vegas minister impersonating Isaac Hayes in the comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Hayes launched a comeback on the Virgin label in May 1995 with Branded, an album of new material that earned impressive sales figures as well as positive reviews from critics who proclaimed it a return to form.
A companion album released around the same time, Raw and Refined, featured a collection of previously unreleased instrumentals, both old and new.
Hayes provided the voice for the character of “Chef”, the amorous elementary-school lunchroom cook, from the show’s debut on August 13, 1997 (one week shy of his 55th birthday), through the end of its ninth season in 2006.
The role of Chef drew on Hayes’s talents both as an actor and as a singer, thanks to the character’s penchant for making conversational points in the form of crudely suggestive soul songs.
An album of songs from the series appeared in 1998 with the title Chef Aid: The South Park Album reflecting Chef’s popularity with the show’s fans, and the Chef song “Chocolate Salty Balls” became a number-one U.K. hit.