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I Put A Spell On You

I Put A Spell On You

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Maurice White left it "Bada-Ya" instead of a real word because he never let a lyric get in the way of a groove. Jay Leno and Fran Drescher also appear in early movie roles, and Tim McIntire is superb as Alan Freed. According to Hawkins, Ruth Brown came to see the show at one point, and said of him “This is the only bitch who can sing my song better than me”. After he got out of prison, he moved to Hawaii for a while, and became a performer again, although there was a temporary hiccup in his career when his girlfriend and singing partner stabbed him after she found out he’d married someone else without telling her.

The accompaniment uses an exotic musical scale but if you listen closely you can recognize a modified 12-bar blues progression.The following year, Hawkins re-recorded the song for Columbia's Okeh Records—the notorious screaming version, which was released in October 1956. But unfortunately, after two of these singles, Timely Records folded, and Hawkins had to find another label.

He didn’t realise what had happened until he was talking to the barmaid later, and she explained to him that no, that meant his girlfriend was definitely leaving. The song was later covered by numerous other artists, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone and Marilyn Manson.And just in case you don’t want to sit through nearly two hours’ worth of the same song, don’t worry – I already did it for you. Hawkins was recording for Grand Records at the time, and had a hard time convincing them to release this. Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 12th 1956, Screamin' Jay Hawkins recorded "I Put a Spell On You*"; later in the year it was released on the Okeh Record label. When the producer asked why he could do the song effectively on stage but not in the studio, Hawkins explained that he never did a concert sober.

I like to acknowledge in the podcast when I’ve relied heavily on one source, and in this case the source I’m relying on most is Steve Bergsman’s book “I Put a Spell on You: The Bizarre Life of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins”. As I mention in the episode, I leaned very heavily on one book here, I Put a Spell on You: The Bizarre Life of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins by Steve Bergsman. Hawkins did this through Freed, who Hawkins had got to know shortly after his discharge from the military. He told Freed that there was only one time a black man was ever getting into a coffin, and that was when he was never getting out again.

He states that the "minor progressions are great" and ends on the notion that it "deserves to do well" due to its "big sound" reminiscent of James Brown. He mentioned that he’d recently seen Hawkins, and he was still doing the same show, and so the British blues and soul fans tracked him down and persuaded the promoter Don Arden to put on a tour of the UK, with Hawkins using the Twisted Wheel as his base. Rob Halford dives into some of his Judas Priest lyrics, talking about his most personal songs and the message behind "You've Got Another Thing Comin'.

So this is another of the all too many episodes where I have to warn listeners that we are dealing with someone who behaved appallingly towards women. However, that version was not released at the time (it has since been reissued on Hawkins’ UK compilation The Whamee 1953–55). Hocus Pocus and Fifty Shades of Grey are among the wide-ranging films “I Put a Spell on You” has appeared in.It was performed twice in the 1993 Disney fantasy comedy film Hocus Pocus, once by a band-singer with the same lyrics and again by the Sanderson Sisters with different lyrics. He thought that everyone sounded a little too staid, a little too uptight, and he asked why they couldn’t sound in the studio like they did when they were having fun on stage and really cutting loose. Hawkins said everyone was indulging and enjoying themselves so much that by the time they got around to recording…they were all drunk and instead of the melodic ballad he had in mind, he scream-sang most of it and created the original version. But any chance of a comeback was pretty much destroyed when he was arrested in 1958 for possession of cannabis and statutory rape, after having had sex with a fifteen-year-old girl.



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