This went to #1 on the US pop chart in 1971, to #2 on the R&B chart and #4 in Britain. An extremely well known song in the US, probably better known than either Isaac Hayes or the film it came from, “Shaft” (1971). Hayes wanted the song to get across that John Shaft was “a relentless character always on the prowl, always on the move.”
Instruments are by the Bar-Kays, who used to back Otis Redding. Backing vocals by Dawn (Stax session singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson), who backed Tony Orlando.
The video is from the beginning of the film. It shows Times Square in New York in January 1971. At the 4:00 minute mark you can see Naomi Sims on the cover of Essence, a magazine which director Gordon Parks had a hand in founding.
- songs, the 1970s
- Isaac Hayes
- Tony Orlando & Dawn: Knock Three Times (1971)
- Irene Cara: Fame – shows Times Square in 1982
- Times Square through time
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 ya dig it?
Who’s the cat that won’t cop out
When there’s danger all about
You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother
(Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ about Shaft
(Then we can dig it)
He’s a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman