A major figure in American soul music, Isaac Hayes also enjoyed a long and memorable career as an actor and film composer. His score for the motion picture Shaft made him the first African-American to win an Academy Award for music, and was one of the first examples of a pop-based film score that developed a life of its own in the marketplace.
Isaac Hayes was born in Covington, TN, on August 20, 1942. Born to a family of sharecroppers, Hayes was raised by his grandparents, and developed an interest in music early in life, joining the church choir at the age of five. By the time he was a teenager, Hayes had also learned how to play piano, organ, and saxophone, but he was forced to drop out of school after the family had moved to Memphis when his grandfather developed a disability. Hayes began performing with a variety of local R&B groups in Memphis, including the Teen Tones, Sir Calvin and His Swinging Cats, and Sir Isaac and the Doo-Dads, as well as working a variety of day jobs. In time, Hayes began attending night school, and received his high-school diploma at the age of 21.