Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 12:05 UK

Isaac Hayes' friend recalls star

John Wooler and Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes (c) signed a deal with Virgin Records in 1994. John Wooler (l) remembers him as a great friend

Former record executive John Wooler recalls his friendship with the late Isaac Hayes.

Since meeting the singer-songwriter in 1994 when he signed a deal with Virgin Records, Mr Wooler reveals how important the star became in the music industry.

He had a great sense of humour and he was a great storyteller and I was always fascinated by the whole history of Stax music.

Isaac was a great songwriter and a great producer and he really changed soul music.

He was a very cool guy and was also a Scientologist, he believed in that and he had strong beliefs. He was a great person to be with.

He changed the whole style of music in the late 60s.

He used heavy orchestration, horn sections and instead of making three-minute songs he was recording 22 minute songs, which at the time was unheard of.

He would just take chances. He'd write very straight-up pop hits, but as a performer his trademark was really taking cover version songs.

Isaac Hayes
He was a very insightful and caring person
John Wooler on Isaac Hayes

He just had a brilliant ear for doing arrangements. He was one of the first artists to make songs called rap music.

Isaac would do spoken word pieces with music, which at that time in the late 60s and 70s was unheard of, everyone just sang their songs.

But Isaac would rap over a piece of music which definitely created rap music of today. I think he's the second most sampled artist next to James Brown. So he had a huge influence over the rap community.

I remember him on two levels, just as a great musician. I spent a lot of time with him in the studio and learnt a lot.

He was also a great friend who I spent time with. We travelled a lot together and he was a very insightful and caring person. He spent a lot of time with charities. He was a very soft, caring man.

I probably spoke to him last about a year ago. He moved back to Memphis and he actually had a child and I spoke to him when he went back.

I would keep in touch with him when he went to LA, we'd have lunch.

He suffered from a stroke about a year ago and that was the start of his problems.

I heard the news earlier today when I was in the car with some friends and my marketing person that used to work with me at Virgin called me.

Obviously I was very sad. It was very unexpected, because Isaac was not an old person.

Sixty five is not old any more and it was just a shock. It was sudden for me.

As always you regret possibly not reaching out. I hadn't spoken to him in a while. It's just a shame that I didn't get a chance to speak to him before he died

His outlook was always to look after people.

Stax label returns after 30 years
19 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Soul star Isaac Hayes in hospital
18 Jan 06 |  Entertainment


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