Scarily good! Over 65% off!

ACT FAST! Offer will turn into a pumpkin at Midnight!

Black History Flashcards Vol 1 and 2 Bundle ONLY $18 with FREE SHIPPING (save over 65%)

The offer will finish at Midnight Eastern Standard Time on 31st octover 2018!

Black History Flashcards Vol 1 and 2 Bundle ONLY $18 with FREE SHIPPING (save over 65%)

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (read and watch)

if you are wondering who the scary dude is in the promo shot, well that is none other than Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (he does not currently feature in any of our Black History Flashcards). Known as the godfather of Heavy Metal by many! He took his voodoo inspired and somewhat silly performances to audiences across the world and I watch his video for “I put a spell on you:” every Halloween BUT Jay has much much more to offer and you really should take the time to explore his catalog!

“I Put a Spell on You”

Hawkins’ most successful recording, “I Put a Spell on You” (1956), was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. According to the AllMusic Guide to the Blues, “Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad.” The entire band was intoxicated during a recording session where “Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon.” The resulting performance was no ballad but instead a “raw, guttural track” that became his greatest commercial success and reportedly surpassed a million copies in sales, although it failed to make the Billboard pop or R&B charts.

The performance was mesmerizing, although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session. Afterward he had to relearn the song from the recorded version. Meanwhile, the record label released a second version of the single, removing most of the grunts that had embellished the original performance; this was in response to complaints about the recording’s overt sexuality. Nonetheless it was banned from radio in some areas.

Soon after the release of “I Put a Spell on You”, radio disc jockey Alan Freed offered Hawkins $300 to emerge from a coffin onstage. Hawkins didn’t want to–reportedly saying “No black dude gets in a coffin alive — they don’t expect to get out!”  but reluctantly accepted and soon created an outlandish stage persona in which performances began with the coffin and included “gold and leopardskin costumes and notable voodoo stage props, such as his smoking skull on a stick – named Henry – and rubber snakes.”[6] These props were suggestive of voodoo, but also presented with comic overtones that invited comparison to “a black Vincent Price.” Despite the commercial success of the gimmick, Hawkins resented the schlock-factor that made him famous. He found it exploitative, and believed it undermined his sincerity as a vocalist and a balladeer. In a 1973 interview, he bemoaned the Screamin’ epithet given to him by his label Okeh records, saying “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t be Screamin’ Jay Hawkins…James Brown did an awful lot of screamin’, but never got called Screamin’ James Brown…Why can’t people take me as a regular singer without making a bogeyman out of me?”

“I Put a Spell On You” became a classic cult song, covered by a variety of artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, Alan Price, the Animals, Them with Van Morrison, Arthur Brown, Bryan Ferry, Buddy Guy with Carlos Santana, Tim Curry, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, Nick Cave in a concert only version, Marilyn Manson, Mica Paris with David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and Joss Stone, Diamanda Galas, and Annie Lennox in 2014 for her Grammy nominated album Nostalgia. Hawkins’ original “I Put a Spell on You” was featured during the show and over the credits of Episode 303 of The Simpsons.

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