Isaac Hayes, born on August 6, 1938 in Covington, Tennes-', learned to play piano and saxophone in his teens. He Sang in local clubs and cut his first discs in 1962 for tiny labels. They were mainly Brook Benton imitations. A long-standing friendship with David Porter led him to join Stax Records as a writer/producer. The Hayes /Porter working partnership led to gold records for Sam and Dave (`Hold On I'm Coming' and 'Soul Man') and proved to be one of the key factors in the emergence of the Memphis Sound. When the Gulf and Western Corporation bought Stax in 1968, the label was asked for 30 albums, so Hayes cut an album himself — Hot Buttered Soul.
Unlike its predecessor (the jazz-styled Presenting Isaac Hayes), it was complex, sophisticated, sensuous and highly controlled, a watershed between the old, raunchy Stax sounds, and the later `sophistisoul' releases. Hot Buttered Soul was an immediate success and subsequent albums featuring extended raps, huge orchestrations and pungent rhythm tracks quickly made Hayes into a superstar, culminating in Black Moses. When asked to write the score for the film Shaft, Hayes created a double set that some consider his masterpiece, and estab-lished his name internationally.
However, despite his Wattstax movie appearance, subse-quent albums on Stax (including two tepid film scores) failed to sell like Hayes' earlier discs (or those of a new sophistisoul star, Barry White). Hayes finally left Stax in 1974 after a publicized royalties wrangle. Early in 1975 he signed with ABC Records and the success of his Chocolate Chip album indicated that the bald-headed, chain-vested prophet of Middle American soul could rediscover his immense audience.