Singer and songwriter who co-founded the soul music label Stax Records alongside David Porter in the 1960s. He and Porter wrote the popular 1967 song "Soul Man" for the duo Sam & Dave. Hayes also earned recognition for his Academy Award-winning original song "Theme from Shaft" for the 1971 film Shaft.
He began singing at his local church at age five and eventually taught himself how to play the piano, organ, flute, and saxophone.
He played Chef on the animated Comedy Central series South Park, but left the show after an episode poked fun at Scientology. He was crowned the honorary king of Ada, Ghana in recognition for his volunteer work there.
His mother died while he was still young, and his father deserted the family. He was largely raised by his maternal grandparents. He married his third wife Adjowa Hayes in 2005. He had a total of eleven children: seven daughters and four sons.
He co-wrote the 1979 Dionne Warwick song "Deja Vu."