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Isaac Hayes Dies at Age 65

August 10, 2008 5:02 PM ET

Grammy- and Oscar-winning soul star Isaac Hayes has died after being found unconscious in his Tennessee home. Relatives reportedly found the singer next to a running treadmill, and paramedics brought him to a hospital, where he was declared dead. While the cause of death hasn't been released at this time, a police spokesman said the family believes "a medical condition" was to blame.

Hayes, who was born in Covington, Tennessee on August 20, 1942, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 by Alicia Keys. His 1971 score for Shaft earned him an Academy Award and two Grammys, and he picked up another Grammy the following year for his 1971 double album Black Moses.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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