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COVINGTON – On Tuesday, three of Isaac Hayes’s daughters stood behind mayor Justin Hanson as he read the famed singer’s accomplishments.

A singer/songwriter, Hayes is best-known for his music and acting careers.


He began performing in local night clubs after graduating from Manassas High School and became a session player for various acts at Stax Records by the early 1960s. He composed a string of hit singles with David Porter, including “Soul Man” and other hits for Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas and others.

Hayes later recorded two very successful albums, “Hot Buttered Soul” and “Black Moses.”

In 1972, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the theme from “Shaft” and the Golden Globe and the Grammy for Best Original Score for the movie of the same name.

He was only the third African-American to win the Academy Award at the time.

Hayes appeared in the the movies “Truck Turner” and “I’m Going to Get You Sucka” as well as television shows like “The Rockford Files” and “The A-Team” and voiced the character Chef from the animated series “South Park” on Comedy Central.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

And he got his start in Covington.

Hayes, who died on Aug. 10, 2008 in Memphis, was born in the Rialto community on Aug. 20, 1942 to Isaac Lee Hayes Sr. and Eula B. Wade Young.

His mother died in 1944 and he was raised by his grandparents, Willie James Wade Sr. and Rushia Addie Mae Taylor.

The family attended Rialto Baptist Church. They moved to Memphis as Isaac began school.

He began performing as a young boy and his legacy as a performer lives on, which is the reason city leaders have chosen to honor him with the inaugural Isaac Hayes Day next Saturday.

Daughters Nikki Hayes McGee, Melanie Hayes and Veronica Hayes were in Covington Tuesday night to accept a proclamation on their father’s behalf and tour the community where he got his start.

As event organizers work diligently to prepare for the event, they look forward to attending.

To kick off the celebration, the Tipton County Museum has acquired more than a dozen pieces of Isaac Hayes memorabilia from the Stax Museum and will open an exhibit in his memory at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19.

At 10 a.m., the celebration continues in Frazier Park with waterslides, vendors, food trucks and more. The Covington High School Class of 1977 is planning a music revue featuring several of Hayes’s hits as well as soul classics.

Admission to both is free.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.