First, a brief history…
Shaft started out as a 1971 film directed by Gordon Parks. It revolves around the life of private detective John Shaft—portrayed by Richard Roundtree—as he travels and battles thorugh Harlem and the Italian mob neighborhoods.
After the film, a series of television movies of the the same name were made and aired during the 1973-1974 television season. It was sequenced on the original film, and also starred Richard Roundtree as detective John Shaft. There were seven episodes and it originally aired on CBS.
In 2001, Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson was released. Technically, it was not a remake, but rather a sequel, as even though Samuel L. Jackson’s character was named John Shaft, it was depicted in the film that he was already the nephew of the original John Shaft.
The Shaft theme song
In all three installments mentioned above, one original theme song was retained. “Theme from Shaft,” as it is officially credited, is a song written, performed and recorded by the late, great Isaac Hayes. “Theme from Shaft” garnered Isaac Hayes the Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 44th (1971) Academy Awards. It was also a significant moment in Academy Award history, for he became the first African American to win an award in a non-acting category.
“Theme from Shaft” made way for two albums. In 1971, Isaac Hayes released an album of the same name under Stax Records. In 2000, a new soundtrack for the Samuel L. Jackson movie was released, and featured other artists such as R. Kelly, Alicia Keys and Outkast.
Shaft theme song lyrics
Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
Ya damn right!
Who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man?
Can you dig it?
Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about?
They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother…
Shut your mouth!
I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft.
Then we can dig it!
He’s a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman
Listen (album version)