Kathy Willens, Associated Press
Isaac Hayes gestures during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2002. Hayes, who won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and three Grammy Awards, died Aug. 10 at the age of 65.

Last week in I was flipping TV channels and came across a rerun of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." It was the one where Will and Lisa decide to elope to Las Vegas.

The guest star minister was Isaac Hayes. And he had the best line of the show.

When Will and Lisa decide not to get married there, Will turns to the minister and says, "You're the worst Isaac Hayes impersonator I have ever seen."

After the lovebirds storm out, Hayes looks at the audience, shrugs and says, "I thought I was pretty good."

That's one of the many memories that stick in my head as I write about soul-music pioneer Hayes, who died earlier this week.

I was 4 years old when the original "Shaft" was in the movie theaters. And while I wasn't old enough to see the movie, I did hear the theme on the radio. In fact, that theme was all over the airwaves and actually spent two weeks in the No. 1 slot of Billboard's Hot 100.

That old "chik-a-waka" guitar and strings and flute orchestration, interspersed with Hayes' but oh-so-cool vocal delivery, ruled!

And while he had many hits, including "Don't Let Go," "Do Your Thing" and "Let's Stay Together," he will be remembered for the theme from "Shaft."

Hayes was born Aug. 20, 1942, in Covington, Tenn., and taught himself how to play, compose and arrange music. He worked as a session player for Stax records,

He teamed up with David Porter and co-wrote a string of songs for Sam & Dave, including "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Coming," both Top 20 hits.

Throughout the years, Hayes, who was 65, survived hard times and bankruptcy, but also garnered a list of awards including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and three Grammy Awards. In 1999, he founded the Isaac Hayes Foundation, which partners with other nonprofit organizations to support global and community charities. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

"South Park" fans will know him as the voice of Chef. And those who followed that series heard all of the conflicting reports of why he quit the show. Some say it was because it made fun of his religion, Scientology. Others say it was because he had a stroke; others said it was because he had creative conflicts with the show's creators, Try Parker and Matt Stone.

The Recording Academy, also known as the Grammy people, issued a statement about Hayes saying, "He was actively involved with our Memphis Chapter, sharing his creativity with established professionals and up-and-coming musicians alike. The world has lost a true creative genius and a passionate humanitarian, but his indelible legacy will remain ever present."

My regret is not seeing him perform live.

R.I.P., man.

E-mail: scott@desnews.com