RIP Isaac Hayes

Show some respect for Mr Hayes by switching off the telly and getting reacquainted with Isaac Hayes’ extraordinary 19 minute rendition of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” from his Hot Buttered Soul album.

By The Time I Get To Phoenix

I’m talking ’bout the power of love now
I’m gonna tell you what love can do
You know, when they say love makes the world go ’round
That’s the truth

Love can make you or break you
It can make you laugh, it can make you cry
It can make you happy, it can make you sad
And if you’re hung out real bad in the case of jealousy, love can make you mad
Oh yeah

Everybody, everybody’s got his own thing
Everybody’s got his way
Of doing a thing

Now, we shall attempt to do a tune
That’s very popular
That was written by one of the great young songwriters of today
Now, I don’t know what he was thinking about when he started to write this tune
But it’s a deep tune
There’s a deep meaning to this tune
Because it shows you what the power of love can do
I shall attempt to do it my way
My own interpretation of it

Like I say, everybody got his own thing
I’m gonna bring it on down for you
Now, I want you to bear along with me for a few minutes while I set it up
I want your imagination, I want you to travel with me
Oh, come on, come on

This young man was raised in the hills of Tennessee
When he reached the age of maturity he moved to the West Coast
And he fell in love when he got out there
To this young girl

Oh man, she was outta sight
She was BAD
And they started dating
And then the inevitable
They became engaged and married

They were HAPPILY married
That’s right, they lived in LA
The power of love was upon them

But you see girls, I don’t mean to come down on ya
But this man loved this woman so
You know, they say love is blind
He could see no wrong
No no no

He worked every day
And sometimes he’d pull overtime
He bought anything that this woman’s heart desired
Anything he could rake and scrape
He spent his last dime on her because he loved her

But girls, sometimes you can take love and kindness for weakness
And she took it for granted
She said, “I got a fool and I KNOW I got a fool”
“I got a good thing”
Yeah, she was standing around on the corner
You understand me?

She’d go to the beauty salon and get her hair fixed
She’d go shopping
And she would BRAG about her good thing that she’s got
And she tripped out on him too
Not gonna believe what she told him, no way

Oh yeah girls, you can be like that sometimes
But one day, one day
The old boy got sick
And he had to come home
I don’t have to tell you what he found
Oh, it hurt him so bad

He said, “Baby, Mama, WHY?”
That’s all he could say
That’s ALL he could say
He was hurt

But she said, “Oh, go on fool, the man weren’t doing it”
That’s the only excuse she could give him
He said, “Mama, I can’t take it, I got to leave you. I’m gonna LEAVE ya”
He packed his bag and he started out the door
And when he reached the driveway, you understand
He put down his bag and he said, “Oh Mama, Mama, Mama, can I change my mind?”

You see, the power of LOVE was upon him
And he came back
Oh, yes he did
Well, she tried to straighten up,
She said she was gonna straighten up
She got a job

But that was just a sham
Because he found out again AND again
And SEVEN times he left this woman
And seven times he came back
But you know, the heart can take so much

That’s right
You can only kick a dog around for so long
And the dog’ll get tired and turn
And he took all that he could stand
And the EIGHTH time that this went down, he said, “Mama, I gotta go”
With tears in his eyes

He said, “I’m gonna leave you baby”
He said, “I ain’t coming back”
He said, “I’m leaving my heart right here! But I gotta go”
You see, cause this man can’t take no more
She didn’t believe it

He packed his clothes
He got in his 1965 Ford
He started out
And three times he started to turn back before he reached the outskirts of the city
But he kept on going

Ahh, I don’t wanna go, but I gotta
Mama, mama
And he’s going down the highway
I guess it was around 3.30 in the morning
He could hardly see the road for the tears in his eyes
That’s right, he was crying
They were meeting on his chin
He could barely see the signs at the side of the road
The next town, 25 miles away

And these very words came into his mind
He said,

By the time I get to Phoenix she’ll be rising
She’ll find the note I left hangin’ on her door
She’ll laugh when she reads the part that says I’m

‘Cause I’ve left that girl so many times before
By the time I make Albuquerque she’ll be working
She’ll prob’ly stop at lunch and give me a call
But she’ll just hear that phone keep on ringin’
Off the wall that’s all

By the time I make Oklahoma she’ll be sleepin’
She’ll turn softly and call my name out loud
And she’ll cry just to think I’d really leave her
Tho’ time and time I try to tell her so
She just didn’t know I would really go.


3 Responses to RIP Isaac Hayes

  1. liviugajora says:

    Wow, thanks a lot. I’ve been looking for the lyrics to his monologue for a long while. A great song, a great artist.

  2. ivan says:

    also thanks for the lyrics to this monologue!

  3. Victor Diaz says:

    Incredible lyrics, incredible monologue, incredible artist, a pity his loss. He will be, at least in my heart. RIP Isaac!

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