This week’s selection was written in 1967 by the song’s producers, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, and performed by the most successful soul duo in history. The song was inspired by the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and more particularly, after Hayes observed the news coverage of the July 1967 12th Street Riot in Detroit. He noted that the locations spared in the riots were primarily African-American owned and operated businesses. The word “Soul” was prominently displayed on the exteriors of those buildings and recalled the Biblical story of the Passover.
This song was the most successful release yet for the Memphis-based Stax label, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart and topping out at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in the autumn of 1967. The single reached the coveted #1 spot on the Cashbox charts on November 11, 1967. The recording duo was awarded the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Group performance, Vocal or Instrumental.