Isaac Hayes Songs Ranked

Isaac Lee Hayes Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the Southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a session musician and record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes and Porter were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. In 2002, Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here are all of Isaac Hayes songs ranked.

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12. I Stand Accused (The Isaac Hayes Movement, 1970)

“This ain’t ever gonna be Shaft like but Isaac Is one bad mother shut your mouth. Any way this is the soul goods, sorry my reviews or short I had a bipolar problem and my hands or sore. The song is smooth, with good beats, and great soul vocals. This will sooth your torn soul, for BET nights circa 1999.

11. The Mistletoe and Me (Christmas In Soulsville, 1969)

“Released in the same month as …To Be Continued, these two original Christmas/winter-themed compositions from Hayes veer too close to Presenting Isaac Hayes. “The Mistletoe and Me” is a piano-driven ballad that runs on way too long, even for just over four minutes.”

10. Soul-A-Lujah (Soul-A-Lujah, 1969)

“From the Stax mixed duets compilation album “Boy Meets Girl”, the label here presses some of their second division acts into action in a bustling, horn-driven number which founders somewhat once it reaches the rather forced-sounding song-title, reworking an idea which worked well on the Bar-Kays’ “Soul Finger” but a bit less so here.”

9. Do Your Thing (Shaft, 1971)

“Do Your Thing” has the bassline that launched a thousand rap songs; I first heard it in “Another Execution” by Above The Law in 1991 and didn’t learn until today that it was from this Isaac Hayes song.”

See more: Isaac Hayes Albums Ranked

8. The Look of Love (…To Be Continued, 1970)

“Now this is what I am talking about, this single was used as one of the samples for one of the Jay Z songs off of the Reasonable Doubt LP. The track off that LP was so butta and the music here is obviously just as potent. Then at about the two minute mark the man finally comes on and sings pretty good. This is that 70’s Soul man, the rappers grew up on these grooves. For the beatmakers and the Soul afficianado’s. Loving It.”

7. One Woman (Hot Buttered Soul, 1969)

“One Woman” is a great and fairly standard soul ballad, but it’s Hayes’ production and composition that puts it above the rest. One of the best songs for that smooth summer soul feels if you fancy it. Bringing another ballad is Hayes’ cover of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” in which Isaac spends about half the track talking a story of love and loss before his incredible singing comes in. It’s one of Hayes’ best and most powerful ballads but unless you’re into the intro I’d stick with the single version of it, but for experience’s sake you should listen to this version first.”

6. Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquadalymistic (Hot Buttered Soul, 1969)

“Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquadalymistic” is my other favorite cut on here and another greatest of song but this time I’d just categorize it as one of funk’s all time cuts. The jamming is fierce and Hayes absolutely kills it on the keys, monster jam and funk essential.”

5. Love Won’t Let Me Wait (Love Attack, 1988)

“If one wants to hear what Soul & Funk can do, this is one of the best places to start. Hayes’ second album is a gorgeous and heavy musical statement, with some beautiful strings, organs and minimal wah-wah drenched guitar playing that immediately hit you hard and don’t let you get out of the record’s mindset till it’s done.”

4. It’s All In the Game (And Once Again, 1980)

“A truly sensitive talent for interpreting a song both musically and emotionally. Isaac devotion simply will grab and makes you get deeper into this relieving album.”

3. Walk On By (Hot Buttered Soul, 1969)

“Walk On By” has got to be high up in the running for the greatest soul/funk epic ever made, and an epic it is. It’s very psychedelic as well with its fuzzed-out guitars and rising and falling composition, truly one of the greatest and most powerful songs ever made. Hard to describe why but once you hear you’ll understand.”

See more: Barry White Albums Ranked

2. Don’t Let Go (Don’t Let Go, 1979)

“Note the genres listed above. Yeah, this is a disco song and nothing but. It is surprising to hear this late in the disco period, and from a guy better known for deep soul and funk. He got a top twenty pop hit out of it, but his pop career more or less ended here (chocolate snacks notwithstanding). Maybe we had trouble getting beyond “aw shucks, I wouldn’t stop for a million bucks.” I know I did.”

1.Theme From Shaft (Shaft, 1971)

Shaft‘s status as a cultural touchstone have more or less largely superseded the actual qualities of the film itself. For many, it’s still the apotheosis and most recognizable blaxploitation film ever made. Though the influence of its title character and overall aesthetic permeate our culture to its day, its soundtrack is perhaps the most iconic element of the entire score. Listeners might have sent the “Theme from Shaft” to the top of the charts purely on the backs of Isaac Hayes’s buttermilk vocals and catchphrases (after all, the charts were increasingly embracing gimmicky hits), but the real strength of the song lies in its construction. Funk has always been a bass heavy genre, but few pop songs featured the bass as nearly the entire source of the melody.”