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Song of the Moment: Theme From Shaft

"Isaac Hayes, 65, the Oscar-winning soul singer and songwriter whose swaggering 'Theme From Shaft' became a signature sound of the 1970s, died Aug. 10 at his home outside Memphis."

Released: September 1971.

Length: 3:15 edited single; 4:34 album version.

Label: Enterprise.

Charts: Went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1971.


* In 2000, Hayes told National Public Radio that he had only agreed to write and record the Shaft score after Shaft producer Joel Freeman promised him an audition for the lead role. He never got the chance to audition, but kept his end of the deal anyway.

* The song begins with a sixteenth-note hi-hat ride pattern, played by Willie Hall, which was drawn from a break on Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness", a Stax record on which Hayes had played.

* The song was not intended to be a single, but the success of the film and the popularity of the track in nightclubs led to a 45 record of the theme being released on Enterprise Records two months after the soundtrack.


* When Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, he opened the ceremonies with this.

* Bart and Lisa sing this on The Simpsons episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish."


Who's the black private dick
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
Ya damn right!

Who is the man that would risk his neck
For his brother man?
Can you dig it?

Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about?
Right on!

They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother-
Shut your mouth!
I'm talkin' 'bout Shaft.
Then we can dig it!

He's a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
John Shaft!



Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl


Posted on August 11, 2008

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