Obit of the Day: Gave Shaft Its Bass
When Isaac Hayes was recording his Oscar-winning “Theme from Shaft” he was looking for a distinct sound. He thought adding a keyboard might be the way to go, until he heard Skip Pitts playing around on his bass guitar with a “wah wah” pedal. That was it. “Theme from Shaft” would not only with the 1972 Academy Award for Best Original Song but it would reach #1 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. and hit #4 in the U.K.
Charles “Skip” Pitts learned bass in Washington, D.C. where he would get playing tips from local resident Bo Diddley. After starting in gospel, Pitts found himself playing with some of the greatest rock and R&B artists of the 1960s including Sam & Dave and The Isley Brothers. The Isley’s hit “It’s Your Thing” featured Pitts’ distinctive guitar riff throughout.
Pitts, who would tour with Isaac Hayes for decades, colloborated with him on the soundtrack for the animated series South Park. (Hayes played the character “Chef.”) Pitts passed away at 65 years old.
(“Theme from Shaft” is copyright 2009, Concord Music Group)