Song of the Day: Isaac Hayes, “Theme From Shaft”


I always thought that Richard Roundtree, as John Shaft, should have made an appearance on Murder, She Wrote, just so I could hear Angela Lansbury, as Jessica Fletcher, say "Aren’t you that black private dick who’s sex machine to all the chicks?"

Anyway, Shaft (1971) might have been the first blaxploitation film to be treated seriously by the movie critics, and I think a good part of that has to do with the soundtrack, written by Isaac Hayes, who had done lots of session work and composing for Stax in the early stages of his career. The theme song was released as a single in September 1971 and reached #2 on the Soul chart (behind Marvin Gaye’s "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"), #1 on the Hot 100, and #6 on the Easy Listening chart. Hayes won the Grammy for Best Original Song in 1972, becoming the first African American to be honored that way.

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