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

Actor Richard Roundtree, who became famous for playing the title role in the 1971 movie Shaft, was born on this day in 1942, and as far as I can tell he’s still alive and working. He played John Shaft in two more films, Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) and Shaft In Africa (1973) as well as the 1973-74 TV series. He’s been busy ever since. I always wanted to see him on Murder, She Wrote, just to hear Angela Lansbury say "aren’t you that Black private dick who’s sex machine to all the chicks? I hear you’re a bad mother!" Both lines come (more or less) from the "Theme From Shaft," which was written by Isaac Hayes. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first time a Black person was so honored for a non-acting role) and reached #1 on the Hot 100, #2 on the R&B chart (behind Marvin Gaye’s "Inner City Blues") and #6 on the Easy Listening chart. It’s also #38 on the American Film Institute’s *100 Films…100 Songs" list.

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

    1. There was someting delightfully seedy about the Chicago Loop (the downtown area that the trains all made a “loop” around) in the ’70’s, and one of the reasons was that every theater ran Blaxploitation movies then. In fact, a few were made there (some of the lesser-known ones). Hearing this song transports me to the corner of State and Randolph, near the State-Lake, Chicago, Woods, and United Artists theaters, all running “Shaft,” “Super Fly,” “Hell Up In Harlem”…

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      1. I know what you mean. Nashville had a few small spots like that but not now of course….
        I really like some of those films.

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  1. He also played “Uncle John” in the 2000 “Shaft” film starring Samuel L. Jackson. It was pretty much a cameo toward the end, but Jackson’s Shaft kept talking about things he learned from his Uncle John throughout the entire movie. So yeah, one more appearance as John Shaft.

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    1. We didn’t see the 2000 Shaft. When we heard that Samuel L. Jackson was going to play John Shaft’s nephew, it sounded a little too Scrappy-Doo to us…

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