The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon


Isaac Hayes

Musician, actor, and entertainer, Isaac Hayes, was born Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr., on August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee. When his parents died at an early age, Hayes went to live with his grandparents in Memphis. Hayes was a good student in high school, wanting to be a doctor; in the ninth grade, however, he dropped out to earn money. Hayes later enrolled in a night school from which he earned his diploma in 1962.

By the time Hayes was in his teens, he was adept at playing the piano, organ, and saxophone, as well as having spent years singing in a church choir. When he dropped out of school, Hayes immediately began performing with local R&B groups in Memphis, earning a solid reputation as a musician. Hayes recorded his first album in 1962, and by 1964, he was playing with the house band at Stax Records, one of the premier soul music recording labels in the South. After writing a number of hits in collaboration with David Porter for the group Sam & Dave, Hayes released his first solo album, Presenting Isaac Hayes, in 1967. Two years later, his breakthrough album, Hot Buttered Soul was released and Hayes became a star.

After producing a soundtrack to an experimental film by author Norman Mailer, Hayes was approached to write the musical score of Shaft in 1971; he would become the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Song. Hayes became involved in acting in the mid-1970s with an Italian film titled Uomini Duri, released in America as Three Tough Guys, and the title role in the film Truck Turner in 1974. Hayes returned to acting in 1981 with a role in Escape from New York and 1988’s I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!. The 1990s and beyond saw a resurgence of Hayes in films, playing roles in The Blues Brothers 2000, Dr. Doolitte, and a remake of Shaft; he also became the voice of “Chef” in the animated television series South Park.

Hayes had a radio program on KISS-FM and was the spokesman for the World Literacy Crusade, a part of the Scientology movement. Hayes also established the Isaac Hayes Foundation to partner with nonprofit organizations to promote human rights. While in Ada, Ghana, in 1995, as a part of the World Literacy Crusade, Hayes was crowned as a king, adopting the name of Nene Katey Ocansey I. Hayes also opened up a chain of restaurants across the country. In 2002, Hayes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Isaac Hayes passed away on August 10, 2008, at the age of sixty-five.

Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2003.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Middle Name


First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season




Favorite Vacation Destination


Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date


Short Description

Film actor, musician and singer, and film score composer Isaac Hayes (1942 - 2008 ) was the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Song. In addition to his musical activities, Hayes was also a prolific actor and literacy advocate.

Favorite Color



Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isaac Hayes interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes traces his family's roots in Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes discusses his family's southern heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes shares family stories from the U.S. Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes details his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes discusses his mother's mental illness and institutionalization

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Isaac Hayes describes his reunion with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isaac Hayes describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Covington, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes recalls his early affinity for music

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes discusses his early school life

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes explains his decision to stay in school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes changes career plans after a successful talent show

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes describes his musical career in junior high and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes reveals the extent of his family's poverty

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Isaac Hayes describes his early jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes remembers his mentor, a white employer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes chooses not to puruse criminal activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes explains how candy bars prevented him from receiving his high school diploma

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes remembers his early musical gigs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes shares a humorous anecdote about his piano playing ability

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes details his success as a songwriter

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Isaac Hayes describes the beginnings of his career as a vocalist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Isaac Hayes explains his signature look

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes describes the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes reminisces about the creation of his breakthrough album, 'Hot Buttered Soul'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes discusses the role of fashion in performance

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes explains his moniker 'Black Moses'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes lists some of his discography

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes considers the need for cooperation across generations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Isaac Hayes emphasizes African American economic cooperation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes stresses culturally inclusive education

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes describes being honored as a Ghanaian king

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes contributes to development efforts in Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes describes the advantages of Scientology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes details his role in the film 'Shaft'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes recalls composing the memorable score for 'Shaft'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Isaac Hayes reflects on his Academy Award for the score of 'Shaft'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Isaac Hayes discusses his many film roles

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Isaac Hayes shares several of his favorite television roles

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Isaac Hayes is forced to file for bankruptcy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Isaac Hayes describes his current business endeavors

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Isaac Hayes discusses his healthy lifestyle

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Isaac Hayes names his favorite musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Isaac Hayes remembers fellow musician Barry White

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Isaac Hayes considers the black community's needs

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Isaac Hayes considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Isaac Hayes describes his future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Isaac Hayes gives his philosophy on life's trials

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Isaac Hayes describes his contribution to the world

Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie

"The music host who loves you most," Holmes Daddy-O Daylie was born on May 15, 1920, in Covington, Tennessee. His mother died tragically during childbirth and his father five years later. Holmes was then raised by his older brother, Clinton, and the family moved to Chicago's South Side when Holmes was a child. He attended John D. Shoop elementary and Morgan Park High schools. A talented athlete, after graduation Daylie played professional basketball with the Harlem Yankees and the Globetrotters. However, he soon tired of the lodging discrimination encountered while traveling across the country, and he returned to Chicago to begin a new career.

Affectionately called "Daddy-O" long before his entrance into radio, Daylie was known for his linguistic gymnastics and sense of humor. These qualities would prove to be the key to his success. Discovered in 1947 while working as a bartender in the Beige room of the Pershing hotel, famous disk jockey Dave Garroway was impressed by the artistic rhymes Daddy-O used while serving his clientele. On Garroway's suggestion, Daylie enrolled in radio school to refine his skills and, in 1948, Daddy-O's Jazz Patio made its debut on station WAIT.

Daddy-O's relaxed style and hip improvisational rhythmic monologues during the forty-five minute program were an instant success. In addition to introducing audiences to the innovative sounds of jazz, blues and swing music, Daylie used his program as a platform to further the cause of civil rights and to highlight other social maladies in African American communities. One of Daddy-O's proudest achievements was Operation Christmas Basket, which helped feed hungry Chicagoans during the holiday season.

After leaving WAIT, Daddy-O first joined the staff of WMAQ radio and then "The Voice for Equality" WAAF 950 AM. He retired in 1988. Daylie passed away February 6, 2003.

Accession Number




Archival Photo 1
Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category

Morgan Park High School

John D. Shoop Math-Science Technical Academy

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season



McCormick Tribune Foundation



Favorite Vacation Destination


Favorite Quote

There is always hope. When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Death Date


Short Description

Radio personality Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie (1920 - 2003 ) was a radio disc jockey who introduced audiences to jazz, blues and swing while furthering the cause of civil rights. Working at WAIT, Daylie was known for his linguistic gymnastics, sense of humor, and hip improvisational rhythmic monologues.


Harlem Globetrotters International

WAIT Radio

WMAQ Radio

WAAF Radio

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie's favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about mementos of his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about returning to his childhood town

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his siblings and where they grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie continues to talk about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie recalls some of his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly discusses the age of his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about growing up on the outskirts of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his childhood interest in athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes playing professional sports as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains the difference between his basketball team and the Harlem Globetrotters

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes traveling to different towns on the professional baseball circuit

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes a typical year in his life as a professional athlete

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses what he learned from his experience as a professional athlete

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about leaving professional sports and starting a new job

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about working at the El Grotto Supper Club

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains what inspired him to be a radio disc jockey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about getting into radio school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes his first radio job

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his lyrical and poetic ability

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains how bartending inspired his songwriting

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains how he got his nickname

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about some of his favorite musical performers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains why he tried not to have favorite artists and songs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about getting a radio show on WAIT

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the start of his WAIT radio show

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his first radio show on WAIT

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the early days of black radio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about participating in the Bud Billiken Parade

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his charity, Operation Christmas Basket

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about meeting comedian Redd Foxx

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells stories about dealing with Redd Foxx's colorful language

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about popularizing Redd Foxx's first record on his radio show

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie praises Redd Foxx's comedic talent

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie recalls a story about singer Dinah Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells the story of jazz singer Joe Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about finding new talent in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about his community benefit radio shows

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about bringing top talent to benefit shows

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie describes the effects of his conflict with Chicago street gangs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie details his conflict with Chicago street gangs

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about organizing community sports leagues

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about buying a bowling alley with entrepreneur Jacoby Dickens

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the success of his bowling alley

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the start of his television show

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his television show, 'For Blacks Only'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie expresses his anger about the actions of Chicago street gangs

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains the impact of Chicago street gangs on his business

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie briefly talks about living under the threat of gang violence

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie talks about the importance of education

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses his views on the "black music" label

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses the current state of radio and music

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie discusses the future of the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie hopes his parents would have appreciated his success

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie signs off with his favorite saying

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie behind the bar at El Grotto

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at Operation Christmas Basket headquarters

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and his record collection

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with Nat "King" Cole

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with June Christy and Jack Tracy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Eartha Kitt

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie on a promotional brochure

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Brochure for Daddy-O Daylie Fun Leagues [1964]

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie in a promotional photograph

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie's Operation Christmas Basket

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens, Daddy-O Daylie's business partner

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens with sponsors

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Photo - Members of a Daddy-O Fun League bowling team

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Photo - Members of a Daddy-O Fun League bowling team

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Godfrey Cambridge

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and Nancy Wilson

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie and LeRoy Winbush

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Photo - Cover of 'You're on the Air'

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at the turntables

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with friends in grammar school

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at WAIT

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie at the Bud Billiken Parade

Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Warner Saunders

Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie on the back cover of his book

Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Photo - Ramsey Lewis Trio

Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Photo - Daddy-O Daylie's daughter Patsy

Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Photo - Headline of bomb threat on ABC-7 in Chicago







Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie explains what inspired him to be a radio disc jockey
Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie tells stories about dealing with Redd Foxx's colorful language
Now when did you decide you were going to go to radio school? That's what we sort of missed along the way.$$Well, how it happened, there was a [radio] disc jockey, a very prominent, very popular disc jockey named Dave Garroway, and he was on NBC [National Broadcasting Company], WMAQ in Chicago [Illinois], and Dave came on, and he was popularizing--he was boosting [jazz singer] Sarah Vaughan. He would play Sarah's records and promoting her, and Sarah was working then at the old Rhumboogie [Club, Chicago, Illinois], which was just a little nightclub, and so I had never met Dave Garroway so one night I'm tending bar, flipping the ice, catching it in the glass, and saying my rhymes like a guy would come in and "say give me a Scotch." I'd say "Scotch and soda?" "Yeah." "Do you want to be great and drink it straight or do you want me to mix it or do you want to fix it?" You know, I'd be rhyming, and so Garroway came and sat at the bar, and I'm working the bar so I'd give a guy his drink, and he'd count his change, and I'd say "wait. Don't want you to leave here acting strange so watch me closely while I count your change," and I would count his change, and then I would palm the top dollar, see, and stick it down my collar. Then I would lean over with the dollar sticking out of my collar, and I would slide his change over to him, and he was "ha ha" and be fooled. I said "no, no, count your money because I don't want you leaving acting funny." "No, I'll count it." I said "count your money," and he would count "seven, eight, nine, seven, eight, ni--" and I said "see there? Don't holler. Here's your dollar sticking down my collar," and he would laugh and say "well, you keep it," you know, and that's how--so it was a fun thing with me so this guy's sitting there watching me, and he said "do you have a script or are these just some things that you say ad lib?" I said "I'm too hip for a script" so he said "you ought to be in radio," and I said--I never thought about it. I said "yeah." I don't know. I gave him some flip answer, and I'm working the bar because I worked alone at that time so Sarah was at the table with her husband and a party, and they got ready to leave so they came back, and she said "Daddy-O, do you know Dave Garroway," and I said "no, but we had a little session here" so they left, and about three weeks later I'm working, flipping the ice and doing my thing, and I heard this voice that said "well, I see that you don't have any ambition because you're still doing the same thing. You just want to be a bartender. That's the height of your ambition." And that hurt me so I didn't want him [Garroway] to know he got to me, but I started thinking, and there was a disc jockey on the air in our city who will remain nameless but who was not--well, he raped the King's English, let's put it this way. And so I said "hey, I'm better than he is." I had been listening to this guy all the time, but I never heard him. Then when Gabe said that, "I said I'm better than he is, and I'm not even on the air" so I said "okay." So I went and got the Yellow Pages [business telephone directory], and I thought I should get a book, look up public speaking.$See, I would always take shows out to the different hospitals and the sanitariums because I would get fan letters, and they would say "Daddy-O, you're always taking shows out to the hospital or this, that, and the other, or out to the prisons, and you don't do this" so I said "okay." Well, I took a show out to--whenever I would take shows out, whoever was in town out at the clubs I would always take out the best shows. I wouldn't go and get just local talent. I'd go to [Club] DeLisa [Chicago, Illinois] and get their stars and whoever at the Regal [Theatre, Chicago, Illinois]. I'd get their top stars and the Rhumboogie [Club, Chicago, Illinois] and the chorus and the band. I'd take out an all-star show. So we're out at Vaughn Hospital, [Edward] Hines [Jr Veteran's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois], but the Vaughn Unit, and so they had all, you know, the veterans that were paraplegics, and some of them were on the stretchers laying, and then some were in the basket, first time I ever seen a basket case, you know, where it's just--you look down, and there's this kid there with a big beautiful smile with no arms and no legs in a basket right in front of the stage, just so happy that you thought enough to bring him--. So--and the nuns and the nurses are around so Redd was on the show, and I had told Redd [Foxx, comedian] "now, Redd, you know you can't go out here using blue language. I don't want you up there cussing." And he said "oh, man, you know, I know how to act." So now there was the nurses and the nuns standing along, and Redd got out there and he said--I introduced him, and he said "Daddy-O Daylie, give him a nice hand. He'd get together and bring shows out here and get people out of bed and everything and come out here in the middle of the day like that when I should be sleeping and everything, and he then tried to tell me how to do my show, said I told that mother--ha, ha, see there? You thought I was gonna say mother--. Ha, ha, no, I ain't gonna say it." You know, he said "I know how to act, but it sure is difficult. Sister, would you mind plugging your ears up for a minute?" He just figured--he joked like he was going to cuss, and I was just perspiring because Redd--I didn't think Redd was--but he didn't say that. And then one time I had Redd, and we were at Robert's [Club, Chicago, Illinois] in the back in the parking lot. I had [Count] Basie's [pianist, composer, bandleader] band and Stanley Turrentine's [saxophonist, bandleader] group and Redd Fox. So he said--he came out on the stage, and he said--now remember, he's on 'Sanford and Son' [popular television show, 1972-1977]. Now all of these couldn't get into Robert's with--we had seats for 3,000 on the parking lot, and along the upstairs rooms they had sold the rooms in the outdoors, and it was packed. So we had a lot of people that came to see 'Sanford and Son,' brought their kids, their families, and their wives. So Redd came out, and he's got this cocaine (gestures at nose)--when he walked past me. I said "Redd, clean yourself up. You got that snow on you." And he went out there, and he said "all right now. All of you MF's, kiss my--." Right just "bam," and everybody sat up, and they started getting up and running with their children, leaving because it wasn't that good old [Fred] Sanford [lead character of 'Sanford and Son'], you know, that they had been seeing on the--well, Redd was something.