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Isaac Hayes
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Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes (August 20, 1942) is an influential soul singer. He began his recording career in 1962, soon playing saxophone for The Mar-Keys. After a period of activity with Stax Records, Hayes released Presenting Isaac Hayes, a moderate success recorded immediately following a wild party. Hot Buttered Soul (1969) was a breakthrough success, and established his image (gold jewelry, sunglasses, etc) which eventually became a template for much of the fashion of gangsta rap and similar trends in the 1980s and 90s. Hayes' biggest hit was 1971's soundtrack to Shaft, the title track of which clearly presaged disco. Black Moses (1971) became almost as successful.

By 1975, Hayes left Stax Records and formed his own label called Hot Buttered Soul Records. A series of unsuccessful albums led to Hayes' bankruptcy in 1976. The late 1970s saw a major comeback for Hayes, following the release of A Man and a Woman (1977, with Dionne Warwick). In spite of moderate success as a singer, Hayes' records did not sell very well.

By the late 1990s, he was best known as the voice of Chef on South Park. A song of his from the series, Chocolate Salty Balls, received some international radio airplay in 1999 and subsequently appeared on the album South Park Chef Aid in 2002.

Hayes was inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Hayes is also an outspoken Scientologist, frequently identified by Scientology as a success story and great example of the positive effects that Scientology can bring. He has called Scientology the "gateway to eternity" and "the path to happiness and total spiritual freedom."

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