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 Fogerty, Annie Lennox, Joe Cocker, Queen Latifah, Garou, Bonnie Tyler, Alan 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.
“Screamin; Jay Hawkins,” Biography.com
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