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Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft – 1971

About The Song

“Theme from Shaft” is a classic soul and funk instrumental track composed and performed by Isaac Hayes. Released in 1971, the song served as the theme for the film “Shaft,” a popular blaxploitation movie from the same year. Here are five facts about this iconic piece:

  1. Academy Award Winner: “Theme from Shaft” earned Isaac Hayes an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972, making him the first African American to win an Oscar in a non-acting category.
  2. Chart Success: The song reached significant commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.
  3. Innovative Sound: Isaac Hayes’ innovative use of orchestration and arrangement in “Theme from Shaft” contributed to its distinctive sound. The extended instrumental introduction, featuring the wah-wah guitar and strings, is particularly memorable.
  4. Lengthy Arrangement: The full version of the song is notable for its length, running over four minutes. This extended arrangement, with its mix of spoken word, vocals, and instrumental sections, was somewhat unconventional for radio play at the time.
  5. Cultural Impact: Beyond its success in the charts and awards, “Theme from Shaft” has left a lasting impact on popular culture. It remains one of the most recognizable and influential pieces in the soul and funk genres, and its use in various films, TV shows, and commercials has cemented its place in the musical landscape.



Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
You’re damn right

Who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man?
Can you dig it?

Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about?
Right on

They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother
(Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft
(Then we can dig it)

He’s a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
(John Shaft)