There’s always this person that knows everyone else. This is why some people believe that we’re only really separated to a stranger with six different people. This is often times called the “Six Degrees of Separation.” Music has this, too, in the form of Isaac Hayes.
Isaac Hayes is, in fact, one of the most sampled artists of all time. Hayes sits with James Brown, Michael Jackson, Kool & The Gang, and George Clinton as one of the artists that helped shape the modern look of the industry today. According to Who Sampled, Hayes’ music has been sampled more than a thousand times.
This is why songs of artists such as Portishead, The Geto Boys, and Massive Attack had some songs that sounded like some Hayes’ hits: this is because some of his samples were actually repurposed by these bands. Hip hop icons such as Jay Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, 2 Pac, and Wu Tang also used Hayes samples to some of their songs.
As per Who Sampled’s statistics, Hayes’ music has been sampled for at least 1,123 times. They were also covered almost 200 times. There are also over 66 covered versions of his songs. Their page on Isaac Hayes even allows you to type an artist to check just how he or she is related to Hayes.
Who is Isaac Hayes?
Hayes is born in Covington, Tennessee way back in 1942. Orphaned at a young age, Hayes grew up with his grandparents and worked at a farm for much of his childhood. Hayes had to drop out of high school when his family moved to Memphis, and he began to do odd jobs here and there.
His love for music blossomed when he began singing for the local church. Hayes’ career as a “professional” began when the proprietor of Curry’s Club Tropicana hired him to sing with the house band for three nights every week.
Hayes was actually in fact offered not one, not two, but seven scholarships to colleges. He was already married and had a child on the way, so he had to decline those opportunities in order to get a paying job. So Hayes continued to pursue his passion of singing. He hung around at the Stax record store, just below the studio proper. This was then a place for musicians to chill out.
His official career began with Floyd Newman’s band. He slowly began producing his own music for the label as well, beginning with “Presenting Isaac Hayes” back in 1967. Hayes released two albums every year from 1968 to 1969, including the soundtrack to the film Shaft, which won him an Oscar.
Perhaps one of the most popular Hayes album is “The Spirit of Memphis,” developed and released through 1962 to 1976. The four disc set had tracks that shared a lot abou Hayes’ experiences and hardships. Fans of Hayes, or those with an ear for music, would recognize hits such as “B A B Y” by Carla Thomas, and “Soul Man” by Sam & Dave. Other tracks include “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” by Hot Buttered Soul. “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “Do Your Thing” and “Theme from Shaft” were also Hayes hits.