Going all the way back to 1956 (the song, not this performance, which dates from the 1960s). Before your Marilyn Mansons and your Rob Zombies. Before your Alice Coopers and your Arthur Browns. The originator of shock rock, the incredible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Originally written as a normal blues ballad, Hawkins and his band wound up recording “I Put a Spell on You” after the session’s producer got everybody good and drunk. Hawkins claimed that he never remembered ever actually cutting the song, and had go back to listen to the tapes to actually learn the version they recorded. Suddenly, it was a hit and the persona of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was cemented. Some might say that his theatrics tend to overshadow the fact that Hawkins was an amazingly talented vocalist and an equally charismatic performer, but I tend to think that the theatrics allowed him a novel way to channel that talent and charisma into something far more memorable.
Hawkins passed on February 12, 2000, leaving behind somewhere around 55 to 75 children. Busy, busy man.