NEW YORK, August 12, 2008 â€“ VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul will air The Golden Globe nominated documentary â€œWattstaxâ€ on Wednesday, August 13 at 8:00PM* in honor of soul singer Issac Hayes. Filmmaker Mel Stuart captured the August 20, 1972 Wattstax music festival known as â€œthe black Woodstockâ€ at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in this epochal documentary. Memphisâ€™s Stax Records commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots with this festival featuring powerful performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospelâ€”plus biting humor from a then little-known comedian Richard Pryor.
Wattstax brought out a rapt audience of 100,000 in a celebration of music, soul and the 1970â€™s â€œblack is beautiful movement.â€ The documentary features exclusive interviews with Richard Pryor and Ted Lange among others and told the story of the 70â€™s Black experience through topical street interviews throughout Watts. The documentary closes with one of the most seminal moments in soul history, the late Issac Hayes performance of his classics â€œTheme from Shaft,â€ â€œSoulsvilleâ€ and â€œRolling Down A Mountain.â€
VH1 Soulâ€™s Isaac Hayes Tribute programming beginning Wednesday, August 13 – Sunday, August 17 will include:
Â· WATTSTAX â€“ airs on Wednesday, August 13, Friday, August 15 and Sunday, August 17 at 8PM* each night
Â· SOUL DEEP “Southern Soul” – airs on August 13, 15 and 17 at 8PM* each night 2PM* and 10PM* each night
Â· Isaac Hayes video block following both programs
SOUL DEEP “SOUTHERN SOUL”:
In the summer of 1967, Otis Redding performed in front of a 200,000-strong, mainly white, crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival. Five years after walking into Stax Records studio in Memphis as an unknown singer, he was now breaking into the mass white market and seducing its counter-culture without diluting his sound. This episode follows both Reddingâ€™s rise, as he became the embodiment of Sixties soul music, and that of Stax Records as it crossed the racial divide at a time of segregation.
The sound of the South began to influence other labels. New York-based Atlantic Recordsâ€™ Jerry Wexler would bring his musicians south whenever they needed inspiration. Wilson Pickettâ€™s huge hit â€œIn the Midnight Hourâ€ resulted from a night in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis with Stax songwriter Steve Cropper and a bottle of â€œJackâ€. Once Wexler teamed performers Sam and Dave up with Stax writers Isaac Hayes and David Porter, classic hits emerged from their collaborations including â€œSoul Manâ€ and â€œHold On, Iâ€™m Cominâ€™.â€ A new black sound was on its way!
*All Times ET/PT