Theo Wargo, Getty Images Black Sabbath are riding high on the fact that their new…
- Posted on Jul 20th 2007 2:00PM by Christina Lang
'I Put a Spell on You,' Screamin' Jay Hawkins
From 1956's 'I Put a Spell on You'
It was an evening like any other until the haunting, entrancing lyrics of ' 'I Put a Spell on You' came pouring out of my roommate's speakers. I knew the song but had never heard the original version, and from that moment I was forever captivated by the voice of Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
He was known for his crazy, disturbing performances and chilling voice. Each note in this song oozes with desperation -- the rough blaring saxophone, the vocal imperfections, and the seemingly random grunts of passion and frustration eating away at a wounded lover. The first time I heard him moan the lyrics, "I love you, I love you, I love you, anyhow," I shivered from sheer musical fear.
There have been plenty of covers -- Marilyn Manson, George Clinton, Alice Cooper -- but no one has been able master Screamin' Jay Hawkins interpretation. Other artists have attempted to "pop" up the original, pulling away from the spine-chilling effect Hawkins created by sounding as if he were possessed by a demonic creature. There are moments throughout the song when I truly fear for his lost lover. "I don't care if you don't want me/I'm yours right now/I put a spell on you because you're mine."
There are unconfirmed rumors that a more subdued version was originally recorded. It's also rumored that Hawkins and his band were highly intoxicated during the recording, hence the rough sound. Nevertheless, it worked. I haven't found another song that scares me in the same way that this does. Screamin' Jay will forever have me under his spell.
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