Isaac Hayes

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Alicia Keys
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Sophisticated. Smooth. Sexy. There’s no one quite like Isaac Hayes.

He set the stage for rap with his spoken-word monologues and is one of the most sampled artists of all time.

Hall of Fame Essay


Rob Bowman

In the past fifty years, there have been a handful of seminal, innovative albums that truly changed the course of popular-music history. LPs such as Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, James Brown’s Live at the Apollo, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks opened new doors, created new possibilities and suggested new directions to other musicians, record company personnel and fans alike.

Each of these albums, in its own way, defined a moment in time, captured the Zeitgeist of an era and helped create a musical subgenre in the process. To have created one such album over the course of a career is a heady accomplishment. To have done it twice, as Isaac Hayes did with Hot Buttered Soul and Shaft, puts one in extremely rarefied company indeed.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2002
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made you believe that he has seen the promised land.
Alicia Keys

Photography: Bob Gruen