I knew Isaac Hayes. Not well, but enough to be on a first name basis. Not well, but enough to admire and like the soft-spoken music icon as a genuine person. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and was strongly influenced by Memphis music, including Isaac's home label, the famed Stax Records. In fact, my style of guitar playing was heavily influenced by Stax's Steve Cropper and my bands always were dubbed "blue-eyed soul" groups. I first remember seeing Isaac in his songwriting office at Stax when my own band was doing some recording for the label. Songwriters were my heroes and high among them were Hayes & Porter who wrote many of the Stax hits, including "Soul Man". At that time I didn't know Isaac could sing. But he was already my hero as a songwriter. It wasn't until I moved to Atlanta in the late 1970's and became an active member of NARAS in that city that I got to know Isaac (who had also moved to the area) much better. He was always a kind gentleman. He passed away this past Sunday at his home after suffering a stroke. Thank you, Isaac, for your inspiration, your kindness and your tremendous influence on the music I loved and performed as a young man.
Copyright © 2008 C. Stephen Weaver