Sure, he'll always be remembered for the shaved head, the chains, the bad attitude that sold his theme song for Shaft, but Isaac Hayes was largely responsible for shaping the sound of the South in the 1960s. Working with his partner David Porter, Hayes turned out some landmark songs for Sam & Dave – as well as some of the others who recorded for Stax and Atlantic Records – and helped pioneer a sound that was a saltier rival to what Motown was turning out.
Along with James Brown, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and a handful of other high-profile African-American stars of the '60s, Hayes also played a huge role in creating a new, proud image for the black U.S. male. No quarter asked, none given.
Soul man, indeed.