Saturday, February 12, 2011

"I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - the charismatic performer with the pimp-tastic costumes who tears it up in the above clip - died on this day in 2000, but not before helping to imbue rock with blues, and along the way giving some of the finest performances of each... Only it might never have happened but for the intercession of pioneering radio disc jockey Alan Freed who suggested that Hawkins forego the straightforward blues persona he'd been developing in favour of the flashier costumes and stage antics of the 1950s rock era.

Hawkins' song I Put a Spell on You has been widely covered by other artists; I first heard it performed by Sonique, only to then be led to believe it was a Nina Simone original. Prominently featured in the 1993 film Hocus Pocus, where it's sung by Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy), The Animals, Ray Charles, Bryan Ferry, Diamanda Galás, and Bonnie Tyler are just a few of the other artists who've attempted it for themselves.
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