Screamin’ Jay Hawkins never sold a lot of records in the greater scheme of things, but his one hit, ‘I Put a Spell on You’ was hugely influential and his talent for theatrical live shows made him a star. Usually emerging from a coffin onstage, wild-eyed and raving, toting a smoking skull on a pole and hamming it up by wrestling rubber snakes and suchlike, this ‘shock rocker’ had a long career doing the same kind of voodoo-inspired music, but it was always played for laughs. Jay toured the world with his frenetic R&B act, and later he embraced the horror-flick genre with soundtrack work and the occasional cameo, exposing his weirdness to new generations.
Please, Please, Please watch this British TV performance!
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[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”Screaming Jay Hawkins Discography” float=”true” align=”left” width=”300″]This guy had a very original take on R&B! All his early releases and his great versions of some standard tunes are remastered on this 2CD collection.
WEIRD AND THEN SOME!
[/stextbox]In the 80s, Jay was living in New York and began a collaboration with The Fuzztones which resulted in a live album. Jay put out his own album ‘Black Music for White People’ in 1991, and scored a hit in the UK with a single from that album, Tom Waits’ ‘Heart Attack and Vine’, which also featured in a Levi’s ad. During the 90s, Jay played many Blues Festivals and Film (!) Festivals and toured with The Clash and Nick Cave, as his voodoo Rock was displayed to a new generation. When Jay died during surgery in Paris in 2000, it emerged that he had fathered at least 55 children. He must have ‘put a spell on’ a lot of women!