‘I Put A Spell On You’

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Jalacy Hawkins, 1929 – 2000) performing his 1956 hit composition “I Put a Spell On You” on David Sanborn’s “Sunday Night” television show (that’s Sanborn on alto sax). Originally an R&B musician, his stage act is said to have been suggested by DJ Alan Freed after his novelty recording became a hit. In his concert act Screamin’ Jay was carried on stage in a coffin.

The million-selling 1956 recording can be heard here. Mr. Hawkins originally intended the song as a serious, brooding blues ballad, and many singers have interpreted it that way, including Nina Simone, John FogertyAnnie Lennox, Joe Cocker, Queen Latifah,  Garou, Bonnie TylerAlan Price, and many others. “I Put a Spell On You” is number 313 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Without the hokum, that’s one scary good song, Mr. Hawkins.

More:

“Screamin; Jay Hawkins,” Biography.com

I Put A Spell On Me (2001), documentary film by Nicholas Triandafyllidis

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