Articles: Musician/Actor, Isaac Hayes Inducted Into Rock Hall of Fame




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Tara Casanova

The Black Moses (Isaac Hayes), the bearded, bald, muscular musician wrapped in gold chains whose 1971 signature song "Shaft" ushered in the Blaxploitation genre has joined the elite alumni of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hayes says he was surprised last December when he heard that he had become a Hall of Fame inductee.

"It’s just beginning to sink in," Hayes told the Associated Press. He added being inducted into the Rock Hall with all the legendary performers who have gone in before him "is really a great thing."

Hayes says scoring "Shaft," that went on to become a multiplatinum seller, was a coincidence of events.

"I had never scored a movie before in my life! They gave me three reels of 16 mm. One when Shaft was walking through Harlem. The other one when he was making love to his woman Ellie. And the other one was when he came up out of the subway in the beginning of the movie. They said, go ahead and write something for this.

"That’s like throwing a baby in the water and saying swim. But he did give me the view point. It turned out that Ellie’s love theme was easy to write. I did that in an hour. The montage of Shaft walking through Harlem, took about an hour. But the main character? I said, what can I do with this thing? As it turned out, I actually didn’t write it (the 'Shaft' theme) until all the other parts of the score were finished.

"We were sitting there and I had an idea. I told Will Harlen to give me 16 notes on a high hat and that started something. I said to Skip my guitarist, ‘We were working on a piece a year ago. I didn’t know what to do with it so I put it up. Go get that piece.’ He pulled it out. and we played it. I said, ‘You love that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ I said ‘Hook a wah, wah up to the guitar.’

He hooked it up and I got on my knees and put my hand on it and said I wanted it to go like this. He put his feet down on it and got a good feel for it. Once we added some drums and bass everything started falling into place.

"The lyrics were easy to write. I had to put an edge on it though. ‘Who’s the black private dick whose the sex machine to all the chics? Shaft.’ And I censored myself and said, ‘This cat Shaft is a bad mother, shut your mouth.’ I did it that way, otherwise somebody would have told me to shut your mouth. It was a self censoring thing.

"So that’s it. That’s how it all started. I would have bet you a million dollars against your one dollar that it wouldn’t have happened. I was convinced that it was just for that one time and that was it. I had no idea that it would go on like it has and take on a life of its own."

With Shaft, Hayes’ popularity knew no racial or ethnic boundaries, but being called the "Black Moses" proved very controversial in the racially charged ‘70s. So Hayes says he never felt comfortable with the biblical moniker.

"It was not my idea to call myself ‘Black Moses,’" Hayes says. "What happen was we had played a college gig, and I had done two or three curtain calls — encores," Hayes says. "And Dino Woodard, one of the Minster’s in Harlem, said, ‘Man, look at how they are cheering you!’

"I said, ‘I can’t go back out there.’ "Dino said, ‘They love you man. You’re like Moses. You’re leading them in song man. You’re like, Black Moses!’

"I said, ‘Hold up Dino. That’s sacrilegious. Don’t do that man.’

"’Oh, man. You’re Black Moses!’

"Well, I continued to resist it," Hayes says. "Then Chester Higgins, a writer for Jet Magazine got wind of it. He put it in an article that he wrote about me. And then I played the Spectrum in Philadelphia — 18,000 people. Georgia Woods, a local radio personally and concert promoter announced to the crowd, ‘Ladies and gentlemen. I now bring you the Black Moses of the music world, Isaac Hayes!’

"And 18,000 people stood up, and it caught on," Hayes says.

"And then the marketing department at Stax Records came up with the album that had the fold out thing with me standing on the water. And when I went to Europe, they were kind of resentful.

"They were saying, ‘He calls himself Black Moses.’ And I said, ‘Let me straighten you guys out. I didn’t do that. I resisted it all the way. I’m not stuck on a name type thing. I never did this. I want you to know that. Because there was some resentment, and it’s sacrilegious as far as I’m concerned.’

"I realized as long as it has relevance, it met positive things. I’ll put it on."

In addition to Hayes, other Hall of Fame inductees in the class of 2002 include Brenda Lee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Gene Pitney and Chet Atkins.

In addition to his music credits, Issac Hayes acting credits include:

1.Only the Strong Survive (2002)
2.My VH1 Music Awards (2001)
3.Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
4.Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years (1955-1970) (2000)
5.Shaft (2000)
6.Top Ten Comedy Records (2000)
7.Reindeer Games (2000)
8."Top Ten" (2000)
9.South Park Rally (1999)
10.South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
11.Ninth Street (1999)
12.26th Annual American Music Awards (1998)
13.South Park (1998)
14.Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
15.Six Ways to Sunday (1998)
16.Uncle Sam (1997)
17."South Park" (1997)
18.Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996)
19.Orientation: A Scientology Information Film (1996)
20.Illtown (1996)
21.Flipper (1996)
22.Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored (1996)
23.Johnny Mnemonic: The Interactive Action Movie (1995)
24.Magic Island (1995)
25.Soul Survivors (1995)
26.It Could Happen to You (1994)
27.Oblivion (1994)
28.Acting On Impulse (1993)
29.Children of Africa (1993)
30.Deadly Exposure (1993)
31.Hallelujah (1993)
32.Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
33.Posse (1993)
34.CB4 (1993)
35.Final Judgement (1992)
36.Oscar's Greatest Moments: 1971 to 1991 (1992)
37.Prime Target (1991)
38.Guilty as Charged (1991)
39.Hammer, Slammer, & Slade (1990)
40.Feuer, Eis & Dynamit (1990) 41.I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) 42.Dead Aim (1987)
43.Escuadrón (1987)
44.Betrayed by Innocence (1986)
45.Escape from New York (1981)
46.It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (1975)
47.Truck Turner (1974)
48.Uomini duri (1974)
49.Save the Children (1973)
50.Wattstax (1973)
51.Soul in Cinema: Filming Shaft on Location (1971)


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